The SOPA bill or Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) would punish anyone, including search engines like Google that link to websites dedicated to online piracy. The bill is currently circulating around Capitol Hill and could mean a drastic change in how the internet works.
Google chairman, Eric Schmidt said the bill would ”criminalize linking and the fundamental structure of the Internet itself.” Google has been leading a pack of tech companies including Microsoft and Apple, who also say the bill is fundamentally wrong.
Policing the Internet
“It’s not a good thing. I understand the goal of what SOPA and PIPA are trying to do,” the Chairman said of the Senate counterpart bill, the Protect IP Act. “Their goal is reasonable, but the mechanism is terrible. They should not criminalize the intermediaries. They should go after the people that are violating the law.”
There’s another bill called the OPEN Act that is an alternative to those piracy bills, but the Google CEO said he didn’t know enough about it to comment on it. The OPEN Act would depend on the International Trade Commission (ITC) to handle online copyright claims. It would “follow the money” (an approach Google’s Schmidt has promoted in the past) – which would ideally force sites to end their relationships with sites that promote piracy.
SOPA also targets the Domain Name System, which experts warned will undermine the security of the World Wide Web. Schmidt also commented on that saying, “What they’re essentially doing is whacking away at the DNS system and that’s a mistake. It’s a bad way to go about solving the problem.” One major supporter of the SOPA bill? The Motion Picture and music industries.
Building – and Breaking the Internet
One thing’s is for sure, web development has gotten more advanced and so have online criminals. In the next few years expect the laws to become stronger and the penalties harsher for those that break them.
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