Rupert Murdoch & Other Great Thinkers on SOPA

For opponents of the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) front, yesterday was a big day. The Obama administration released a statement opposing the proposed regulations and bill sponsor Lamar Smith weakened the bill, removing the provision regarding Domain Name System (DNS) blocking.

Both developments are excellent news for bill opponents, demonstrating that pressure from technology companies, civil rights activists and consumers is chipping away at the bill’s support and at some of the most extreme provisions. DNS blocking, in particular, would have allowed the U.S. to block foreign websites with illegal content.

The Obama administration outlined concerns about the broad provisions of the bill and the potential for exploitation by both private companies and regulatory bodies. This is cheering after the bill’s so-far bipartisan political support and broad corporate patronage.

By opposing SOPA the administration is not only making a stand in favor of free expression but is protecting the open regulatory space in which the technology sector thrives.  – ensuring that marketplace and the bill is a strong statement in favor of the growing technology sector and for online expression.

SOPA’s intended purpose –  protecting copyrighted content through stringent regulations targeting web communications companies – has begotten a proposed regulatory regime enabling copyright holders to attack the sites, companies and services that connect people, like Google, Craig’s List and YouTube. New tweeter Rupert Murdoch shares his insight into SOPA:

This is sort of like saying, “Hey, people in China sure do pirate a lot of Hollywood movies. Let’s shut China down!” SOPA would force Google to be responsible for filtering every single site it linked to – making web search onerously complicated and reducing space for new innovation in digital commerce.

More importantly, creating the processes for filtering and shutting down digital intermediaries (like Google) to block some bad actors is ripe for exploitation by much more serious bad actors. Who’s the benevolent oversight body here? The federal government? This is big government, at its most appalling.


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