What’s at stake with SOPA, PIPA


Our beloved Boing Boing is dark today, part of the protest against wide-reaching anti-piracy legislation in Congress – the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). But that doesn’t mean Boing Boing has gone silent. Boing Boing’s managing editor, Rob Beschizza, tells Al Jazeera that the laws won’t work, and that they unfairly shift the cost of enforcement onto private businesses. That’s just the half of it:

Firstly, it encourages people publishing online to self-censor, so that they don’t run afoul of all these new landmines in the landscape. And secondly, it creates these perverse incentives for copyright-holders themselves and for anyone who’s been criticized, to abuse these new laws to bring down sites that they don’t like.

Less popular in Congress by the day, SOPA and PIPA could make a crime of posts like this one, for instance. The cure is potentially fatal to free speech, since the bills encourage companies to gain immunity by blacklisting any sites they suspect of doing anything wrong. You can get a deep look at the issues here, or a lighthearted (and, WARNING, way NSFW) one here. A whip list showing where the Senate stands on PIPA here.

(On the show: A weird day on the Internet)

What's at stake with SOPA, PIPA