At Steadfast Networks we understand all too well how important it is to keep our rights to free speech and expression. As I type this the final revisions to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) are being penned and it's due to go in front of the US House of Representatives within two days. Opposition to this bill have come from every bastion of free speech on the Internet from Facebook to Google, Yahoo to Twitter. Leaders of tech industry and great minds from many fields are speaking out against the greatest threat to our online right to free expression to ever exist. It's important for you to oppose this legislation with us, and here's why: It will not end with the Internet.
Under the guise of stopping online piracy, SOPA will give governmental agencies and copyright holders unprecedented power to limit what you can and cannot access on the Internet. On even the slightest suspicion of copyright or intellectual property infringement an order can come down the wire to limit access to a suspected site up to and including cutting off its ability to generate revenue, barring search engines from listing it, shutting off DNS for the domain or just plain out and out removing it from a server. This applies to any subdomains that may not even be related to the site in question and because SOPA doesn't differentiate subdomains, the potential for collateral damage is mind-bogglingly large. SOPA is dangerous legislation introduced by people who do not grasp technology or the effects their hazardous bill will have.
It will make service providers think twice about the hassle of hosting controversial clients. It will open up the floodgates on frivolous lawsuits and impact how venture capital providers fund startups. The one thing it will likely do absolutely nothing to stop is online piracy, its so-called intended target. And once in place, it isn't a stretch to see controlling interests move to apply it to media. Books. Art. Public speech. Claiming copyright infringement they could shut down avenues of free speech that form the basis of American freedom.
Suffice it to say SOPA needs to be struck down before it can gain any more traction than it already has.
So what can you do?
SPEAK OUT. Blog about it. Talk to anyone that will listen. Contact your representatives. Here are several resources to read more about SOPA and take action:
And two petitions to sign:
https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions (Look for "Stop the E-PARASITE Act")
We must make our stand and we must make it now. United we stand, Steadfast we'll succeed.