When Even The Strongest Copyright Defenders Recognize That SOPA Goes Too Far...
from the perhaps-it's-gone-too-far? dept
So, it's interesting to see that Adam, even as he complains that many of the critics of SOPA appear to just be "apologists for the ugly free-riding and mass piracy that is all too real on the Internet today," still does not feel at all comfortable with SOPA:
We are now witnessing copyright’s last stand with large content interests proposing something akin to the nuclear option of enforcement: mucking with the underlying architecture of the Internet. In an attempt to tackle offshore pirate sites and other “rogue” services, SOPA would require online operators to block services at the domain name system level and search engines would need to take steps to prevent such services from even being found in organic search results. Payment processors and ad networkers would also be roped into this enforcement scheme in an attempt to block the flow of funds to sites that supposedly facilitate copyright infringement. SOPA critics fear this could chill a great deal of legitimate speech on social media sites where incidental or accidental infringement could take place.At the end of his column, he notes that even if the consequences of a failing copyright system are damaging for artists and consumers, "that doesn’t justify a ‘by-any-means-necessary’ approach to enforcement."
Regardless, no amount of intermediary deputization or meddling with the DNS or extraterritorial enforcement efforts will likely get this problem under control. This cat-and-mouse game is being played on a scale, and at a speed, that is unprecedented and growing.
There's an important point that gets lost in a lot of this debate. Even those who love copyright and think it's necessary and wonderful should be worried about the extremes of PIPA and SOPA. There are ways to deal with the challenges faced by those who rely on copyright today that don't involve putting massive new regulations on the internet. Unfortunately the backers of SOPA and PIPA don't want to consider any such options, instead using this "nuclear option," with tremendous consequences to how the rest of the internet will work.