The news coming out of Washington these days is never good, but this current techo-political issue is absolutely huge. If we don’t stop SOPA, the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act, the Internet as a place of free speech and economic innovation will be no more. While this may sound like hyperbole, I assure you it is not. Read this open letter written by many of the world’s top Internet engineers (and my colleagues at the IETF) published on the Electronic Frontier Foundation Website.
This act, if it passes, will modify the core technology of the Internet, the Domain Name System (DNS). The ability for the Internet to grow, perform well, and be free of political interference and meddling are at stake.
This bill is being pushed by Hollywood and other intellectual property holders who claim that online piracy costs billions in revenue and jobs for them. History has shown that the most successful way to stop online privacy is to make content available online at reasonable prices and terms. Remember music piracy? No longer a problem due to the current availability of online music. In fact this act would likely cost billions in lost jobs and profits for Internet startups that would never happen.
I am also a stakeholder in this debate. I hold several patents and copyrights on several books. I have used existing tools to have copyright violating content removed from websites – the current mechanisms do work and do not need replacing by draconian and sweeping approaches that have been shown to fail in (repressive) countries that have implemented them.
And finally, these changes will eliminate the engine of innovation that is the Internet. Now some will not miss this – their entrenched business models will continue. However, during this time of global economic stagnation, to kill one thing that could get us out this is ludicrous.
Stop SOPA. It is as simple as that. Contact your representative today.