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November 11, 2012

Explaining the Stop Online Piracy Act

(Continued)

Naturally, there are pros and cons to the passage of any new law, and this is no exception.

On the negative side, it would force Internet service providers to block the sites of copyright violators and even stop search engines like Bing and Google from displaying them in their search results. Most Internet users are opposed to the Stop Online Piracy Act (as well as the ACLU, Google and Facebook) as it will limit their free access to information.

They claim that the law is overly broad and will be nearly impossible to enforce as pirates, when closed down, usually pop up again somewhere else on the web — usually offshore the United States.

Those arguing for the Stop Online Piracy Act, including the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (politics does indeed make for strange bedfellows), point out that jobs depend on commerce and that commerce depends on copyrights, patents and trademarks. Also, as expected, the large Internet music, movie and video vendors support the legislation.

As of now, the legislation has been tabled but expect it back in a new form as it seems to be a very effective fundraiser for both sides.

For quick, incomplete description of the Stop Online Piracy Act visit: http://www.emedialaw.com/sopa-the-debate-in-plain-english/

For a longer more complete treatment of what everyone seems to agree is a very complicated issue see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act#cite_note-washingtonpost-4

What I cannot understand is why Jackson is so vociferously against Owens. According to govtrack.us, Owens is a centrist whose voting record places him smack dab in the middle of the ideology scale (in fact, Obama and Owens disagree on the Stop Online Piracy Act). So Jackson’s claim was either oversimplified or simply not the whole truth. Is not telling the whole truth equivalent to a lie? I’m not sure but I do know that when someone dissembles in this manner, I am much less likely to swallow any other claims he has made.

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