SOPA gets a hearing
The controversial Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA will be the sole subject of a House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. SOPA is the House version of the Senate’s Protect IP act which got strangled by Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) who echoed the views of many in the tech industry that the measure gave law enforcement far too much power in shutting down websites that are suspected of trafficking in unlicensed content. The House version would require only a court order to shut down a site, a provision that one might argue unfairly excludes due process.
The bill is drawing opposition both from the left and the right, including Tea Party activists worried about the potential regulatory burden, free speech advocates who claim the bill will allow the government to censor content, and Internet companies worried about the bottom line.
But the bill’s supporters are numerous, well-funded and bolstered by evidence that online piracy is sapping their profits and costing the country jobs. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and lobbying shops for the retail, apparel and entertainment industries have made online piracy a top priority this year.
Wyden has also pledged that if this version of the bill gets to the Senate, he’ll filibuster the life out of it.
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