Thursday, February 2, 2012

Chronicles of the Anonymous: The SOPA episode II

What exactly is SOPA?

Consider this blog entry an idiot’s guide to the Stop Online Piracy Act, albeit written by one who is no less an idiot than the rest of the world. As with everything I write about, I shall attempt as much as possible to dumb it down to the level of law students who, like me, are so detached from the outside world. Although, in my defense, I would say that what afflicts me (and most of the people I’m referring to) is more ignorance than plain idiocy. After all, was it not the great Confucius who said “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance.” So, in the interest of real knowledge, let us discuss.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and its Senate counter part - the Protect Intellectual Property (PIPA), are distinct pieces of legislation pending in the U.S. Congress that address the same fundamental issue: Copyright Infringement.

The goal of SOPA (and the infinitely cuter sounding PIPA) is to crack down on copyright infringement by restricting access to sites that host or facilitate the trading of pirated content. The targets being foreign sites considered "rogue"-think: The Pirate Bay, torrentz, Torrenthub etc.

The bill was initiated by House Judiciary Committee Chair and Texas Republican Lamar Smith, along with 12 co-sponsors, on October 26, 2011. Formally known as H.R. 3261, it has been discussed by the House in one hearing held on November 16th last year and a "mark-up period" on December 15th also last year, which was designed to make the bill more agreeable to both parties. SOPA discussions were placed on hold but will resume in February of this year.

To be continued…

Nathan J. Marasigan, Entry No. 7

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