The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has been making rounds during the past couple of weeks, and as a result I feel a need to express my staunch opposition to this bill and am including my letter to my state representative below. SOPA works by giving power to intellectual property holders to force isps, search engines, and other sites to block access to infringing content or faced being shutdown entirely. This is clearly an overstepping of bounds by the US government, and I feel that it breaks the very “openness” of the internet.
Dear Congressman Bachus,
I am writing to you to express my strong opposition of H.R. 3261: Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The internet has grown to massive use over the past two decades, and has proved to be a useful resource for knowledge, ideas and speech. This very growth has provided a wealth of jobs and tools used to enhance the lives of many people.
While I understand that protecting one’s intellectual property is important, there are already various measures to protect those copyrights. SOPA sets a dangerous precedence by giving too much power to one entity.
The passing of this legislation stands to have a serious impact on the very structure of the internet. Many architects and engineers of this very system have already expressed grave concerns on the details of this bill (https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/12/internet-inventors-warn-against-sopa-and-pipa).
Even if SOPA passes, there is little that would actually prevent or stop piracy. DNS works by mapping a human friendly name (i.e. google.com) to one a computer can understand (i.e. 188.8.131.52). Blocking a DNS entry does nothing to prevent access from a “infringing” site and is simple to bypass by entering the IP address directly.
I strongly urge you to do the right thing and vote against the passage of this bill and hope that you encourage your fellow representatives to do so as well. I will closely be watching the outcome of this legislation.