While SOPA supporters are running around pretending that the minor fixes
that Lamar Smith has proposed have made the bill perfectly acceptable, lots of people who understand this stuff are still pointing out that the bill is a horrific abomination that will have serious negative consequences. We'd already mentioned that Wikipedia was considering a blackout
to protest SOPA. Now, Wikimedia's General Counsel, Geoff Brigham, has written a thorough, detailed, and thoughtful explanation for why SOPA is still terrible
. There's a lot more at the link, but a few points:
I’ve been asked for a legal opinion. And I will tell you, in my view, the new version of SOPA remains a serious threat to freedom of expression on the Internet.
- The new version continues to undermine the DMCA and federal jurisprudence that have promoted the Internet as well as cooperation between copyright holders and service providers. In doing so, SOPA creates a regime where the first step is federal litigation to block an entire site wholesale: it is a far cry from a less costly legal notice under the DMCA protocol to selectively take down specified infringing material. The crime is the link, not the copyright violation. The cost is litigation, not a simple notice.
- The expenses of such litigation could well force non-profit or low-budget sites, such as those in our free knowledge movement, to simply give up on contesting orders to remove their links. (Secs. 102(c)(3); 103(c)(2)) The international sites under attack may not have the resources to challenge extra-territorial judicial proceedings in the United States, even if the charges are false.
- Although rendering it discretionary (Secs.102(c)(2)(A-E); 103(c)(2)(A-B)), the new bill would still allow for serious security risks to our communications and national infrastructure. The bill no longer mandates DNS blocking but still allows it as an option. As Sherwin Siy, deputy legal director of Public Knowledge, explained: “The amendment continues to encourage DNS blocking and filtering, which should be concerning for Internet security experts . . . .”
As I said, there's much more at the link, but this is pretty thorough and explains why SOPA, even in its changed form, is a huge threat and a bad idea -- especially if you believe in internet freedom.