What is SOPA and why is it bad?
While this article, linked here, does a good job of explaining things I’m going to quickly summarize what this is all about. SOPA is an acronym for the Stop Online Piracy Act (its text can be read here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.3261: ), and is a proposed bill aimed at cracking down on copyright infringement by restricting access to sites that host or facilitate the trading of pirated content. On the whole this does not seem like such a bad thing and almost everyone would agree that this is a worthy goal to try and attain. The problem, however, is how this proposed bill goes about obtaining this goal. Any site could be in violation of the law if they “facilitate” copyright infringement. The problem with this is that the word “facilitate” invites very broad interpretations of its meaning. In addition, any site accused of being a “facilitator” will have all services – network connectivity and payment services, among others – cut off in an “ask questions later” approach. The filing of false notifications against an online property is a crime, but the burden of proof that a crime was not committed lies with the site that has just been taken down.
This is a horrible piece of proposed legislation that will very likely have a far-reaching and potentially-devastating impact on the internet as a whole. As a professional software developer that has made his living developing internet applications for the past 13 years, and did so un-professionally for several years prior to that, I cannot allow this legislation to become law.
How can you help stop SOPA?
Lamar Smith has been the Republican Congressman for the 21st congressional district in Texas since 1987 and is the individual that introduced the SOPA legislation. Well, my good friend Richard Morgan, a fellow PHP developer, is running against him in the upcoming primaries and needs your help. Richard Morgan opposes SOPA and will make it a priority to oppose this and other big-government bills that threaten individual liberty and discourage job growth and free enterprise in America. There are three things that you can do to help Richard Morgan win the election:
- VOTE. Make sure to vote for Richard Morgan in the primary on May 29, 2012. Early voting starts approximately 2 weeks before this. Here is a link to the areas included in Texas’s 21st Congressional District: http://gis1.tlc.state.tx.us/?PlanHeader=PLANC235
- DONATE. It’s safe to say that most of you reading this do not live in Texas’s 21st Congressional District and therefore cannot vote for Richard Morgan. However, you can help him raise funds to get the message out to those voters that do live in the district. The unique thing about this primary race is that SOPA affects so many more people than just those living within the district Richard Morgan will represent. The ramifications of SOPA transcend local, state and even national boundaries. Anyone, anywhere can donate to Richard Morgan‘s congressional campaign and I strongly encourage you to do so. Visit http://richardmorgan.com/contribute/ to make a contribution today!
- SPREAD THE WORD. Help me get Richard’s message out – accessible here: http://www.richardmorgan.com/issues – to as many people and companies as possible before the May 29, 2012 primary date. The more people and companies that know about this the more visibility his campaign will garner. More visibility will mean increased voter awareness and increased donations. Increased donations will result in increased voter awareness. Locations you can direct your friends to:
Let our voices be heard
Our government is supposed to be for the people, by the people. It is one where every individual voice is supposed to matter and carry with it the ability to instigate change. Help me make those ideals a reality. Please vote. Please donate. And please pass along word of this campaign. Together, united in voice, we can stop SOPA.