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If SOPA passes, it will destroy the Internet. That's not hyperbole, that's simple fact.

Please read this, and please make as much noise as you can about it: tell people, share this post, put it on your networks, and call your congressman and tell them in clear and simple terms that you want them to vote against SOPA.
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I thought the Prez said he would veto this should it pass?
If this passes, I'm joining Anonymous... ;-0
What if the bill contained a jobs plan? He wouldn't veto it then, I don't think.
SOPA needs to sent to the shredder and never be mentioned again. Not even the history journals.
I'm ashamed of my old senator (Leahy) for sponsoring this. I might even give him a call just to reprimand him even though I can't vote against him anymore.
And I'm ashamed of both of mine (Franken and Klobuchar).
in few words there's gonna be restrictions at the stream of using freely information such as photos and things.Am I right?Please correct if wrong
And what happens when they send a takedown for content they uploaded? The Google vs Viacom showed that Viacom sent DMCA takedowns for content that Viacom uploaded.
Why does this surprise anyone? Our (US) legislators are already busy destroying America, why not take out the Internet at the same time?
we live in a lobbycracy.... it's not any surprise that this kind of bills pass through Congress so quickly.
With all the republicans worshipping Ayn Rand and her hatred of the working class this should not suprise anyone. Even the Speaker of the House is quoting her in speeches.
Sometimes it really sucks seeing things like this and having no congressman to hassle on account of being on the wrong side of the pond and with no spare cash to give to people like the EFF :(.
Are there any sort of online petitions for this?
I don't want the internet to die!

If it does, then...

I don't want to live
on this planet anymore
Glad to see someone with a little (much) larger following getting involved. There have been some very spirited discussions over at regarding SOPA, and the consequences that should come from its passing. Its censorship, and nothing but a huge government handout to content companies that have failed to adapt to what technology affords us.
I recently read an article on TechCrunch about this. I'm not going to post a link, but those interested can check out the article "The Death Of The Internet Has Been Greatly Exaggerated"
Pure comedy gold. It gets sadder as you read though when you realize that this is actually what some people believe.
Stop going to the cinema if it passes.
+Gary Mitchell, if the bill had a jobs plan attached then the Prez wouldn't need to veto it. The GOP would crush it in committee.
I've been beating the drum about this heinous legislation for months now. Is anyone listening? C'mon people— this is a despicable piece of law written in the interests corporate monsters. It WILL censor the info you are permitted to get over computer networks. The censors WILL be profit-driven businesses who have bribed public officials like the ones advancing it through Congress. It WILL limit your reach.
This is ridiculous. The Internet is NOT going to be destroyed by SOPA.
Just a side note about addressing things to the President to stop laws, he can veto a bill, but Congress can then override him if the bill has enough backing. It would be far more effective to target our Congressmen (and women) to kill the bill before it goes beyond their walls.
From what I have seen in this bill, it seems to be an amendment to enact harsher penalties for copyright infringement. What am I missing?
this is just typical... NOTHING can stop piracy. And old saying goes, "Any new lock you can make, somebody else can find a way to pick" and that has been proven again and again and again.

It has nothing to do with piracy, it has far more to do with making money, and perhaps simply CONTROL.

Governments around the world (and that includes the vaunted Free Country USA) would love to control everything online, its one of the biggest threats there is to complete control over everyone and everything.

The real problem is, its not likely that calling congress-people will do any good at all, they know which side of the bread the butter is on.
This is bullshit! whatever happened to freedom of speech? the statue of liberty cries when bills like this are even a concept. I'm sorry on behalf of our government liberty.
I didn't know Big Brother is being driven by Hollywood.
SOPA fights Internet piracy like nuking all coastlines would fight ocean piracy.
While on the surface SOPA may look like its only going to attack those that use illegal file sharing services, its not. Ask any industry professional, especially if they know how DNS works, or can see what burdens this places on our ISPs. The ones who will end up paying for this (in more ways that one) is us, the public.
Shared, and spoke with my congressman. Thank you for letting people know about this. I had no idea.
Finally a bill that will move the epicentre of the internet away from the USA to let's hope Europe. I knew you Americans were generous... thanks
Sadly, I have no congressman (or congresswoman). I'm from the "Taxation Without Representation" non-state.
They're using the term 'counterfeit' for the products they plan to act against. That shouldn't include foreign brands, unless they're changing the definition of the term 'counterfeit' somewhere else in this thing...
From Ireland here, wish I could do more than spreading this around.
I hope we can wrest control of Congress and the Senate away from the RIAA and MPAA. Lobbyists offer awesome kickbacks for those who generate legislation based on Patriot Act principles.

I had a raging topic about this on my own profile as of a week or so ago. Thanks for getting the word out, Wil.

(Discussion from my public post:
Moral support and reshares from Canada here.
I'm clearly missing what would this bill allow to happen. I'm seeing lots of what people think will be the outcomes but what does it make legal that isn't already? Not arguing against it just not sure what its doing from reading that.
Tell that to the Republican party :)

In response to +Russ Jam , below. Google must be glitching today.
If you have not posted this on reddit, please do. Your voice carries weight with the computerliteratti. Make it so.
I think actually you can stop progress and that's what this bill and all the others like it are about...
+Erik Collett : it is no longer just the entertainment industry, big pharma has joined the "Restrict American Freedom" party. Here is the line from the bill's summary revealing the drug companies' interests being served by these so-called "public servants": Permits such entities [ISPs] to stop or refuse services to certain sites that endanger public health by distributing prescription medication that is adulterated, misbranded, or without a valid prescription.

+Kym Ryan : both bills permit ISPs, without liability, to deny access to specific Web sites as requested by profit-driven entities. A deeper reading of both the Senate and House bills shows that this is in service to a larger objective: allowing the Federal Government to demand that ISPs deny access to specific Web sites per government fiat (in ostensible service to businesses, but the field is wide open to political abuse as well).
I have a strong suspicion that the passage of this bill would result in rioting. Possibly revolution.

Can you imagine how the nation would react if the government passed a bill that ended up getting Facebook shut down?
just wrote my representative, who happens to be on the judiciary committee even. Mostly since I was bored though.
Not that the congress cares one lick for what's good or not. If the congresscritters that weren't in the pay of the *AA groups had any testicular fortitude at all, they'd blockade this and bottle it up in the Senate. Unfortunately, the entire Democratic party and half of the Republican party have already been compromised.

And if you think Obama would veto something that the Hollywood lobby wants, you're off your chump.
I'm confused... Does this mean it's ok if I pirate ST:TNG episodes that feature Westly Crusher and Wil's books since he's against SOPA's mega IP-Protection (even if that's not what SOPA will be used for)?!?!?!
+Jack Faire : except if a campaign donor doesn't like the content provided— which is what the remaining sections are all about.
ironically, SOPA in swedish (literally) means "utter piece of shit".

edit: apparently it just means garbage
If this thing passes, you can say good-bye to all that free sweet porn.
+Wil Wheaton Well, technically it can't destroy the Internet, whose only function is to schlep data packets from here to there. What it will do is play hob with the World Wide Web as America knows it. Worse yet, at the behest of big media, the Justice Department is already screwing around with the DNS records of foreign-owned Web sites. If we're not careful, those root servers that aren't on U.S. territory are going to be wrested away from us. That won't be a good thing, not at all, and it could happen overnight.

I am now thoroughly convinced that Congress not only has no grasp of the fundamental technological issues involved, but that it does not understand that the United States no longer "owns" the Internet. We haven't for a long time. What we do control, as of today, is the Domain Name System ... a vital piece of infrastructure, to be sure, but one whose greatest value has always lain in the fact that we traditionally left it alone.

At this point the Internet, and the World Wide Web that rides atop it, are critical to numerous economies around the globe. Fostering distrust in our ability to run DNS for the good of all (just to appease some of the most obnoxious, arrogant corporations that have ever existed) is just stupid, at a level that will probably make it into the next revision of the Holy Bible, King Obama Version.

To be fair, though, you folks from other countries that have legitimate objections to our recent handling of DNS should remember one thing: it is the content industry that is responsible for this. And with the exception of Disney, most of those outfits are not U.S. corporations. So yeah, if this goes south, you can honestly say that you shot yourself in the foot. You should have kept your oligopoly out of our government.
Anything that has the words "internet" and "legislation" is bound to be broken. Look at the DMCA. That's already being looked at for the dismantling.
DMCA is an utter piece of shit
The sad truth is, +Wil Wheaton, a congress person is in no way inclined to vote for the needs/wants/interests of the lay people who voted them into office when the big companies have bought their votes. The more I read about this law the sicker I became (just 2 weeks ago, in fact). A few key companies are ignorantly trying to push this law through to protect their IP because they want someone to blame for the loss in income (trying to sustain those excessive salaries, no doubt).
The law will in no way hamper how we use the internet, or have any affect on the sharing that exists, but it might land a few unlucky people in jail.

The kicker is that the law gives ISP's the "right" to throttle/limit our connections, which they do already and assume is legal. As far as I'm concerned, if I pay for bandwidth and it gets capped/cut/throttled, I call and yell at my ISP and demand that X'number of days be credited towards my next months bill. With this, they can just cut off your connection at the arbitrary whims of corporate lawyers. I think I smell 1984 around the corner...
holy crap that sucks many celebrities used the internet to show the world there talent like justin bieber or christina algulara if the goverment shuts down things like facebook or google some business could go fade away because some people use websites like the ones they want to shut down to advertise if this happens no one can even predict what will happen
jeebus ... whoever edited that article is terrible.
It should be interesting to see if congress slips this one through while people are focused on the economy and upcoming election.
I don't envy the american public these days :o(
+Jack Faire Not the first amendment, the ability of private entities to silence voices without recourse.

This is basically DMCA2 from what I can ascertain. The so-called "three strikes" laws from places like France and Australia, but with only one strike, and you don't need to hear it called.

Which is something that is guaranteed to be a haven for graft. "Mr. Politician, I can silence your critics if you give me some kind of legislative advantage over my competitors".

This is the government picking winners and losers by attempting to stand athwart technology hollering "STOP".

That never ends well.
+Scott Chambers Makes ya wonder why the media were so interested in those #Occupy idiots. Misdirection much?

Never watch what the media does with the hand in front of you, they're always trying to distract you from what the other hand's up to.
I have to say, I'm with Jack Faire on this one. Restricting Freedom of speech is a bad thing, but I don't see that here. I don't see restriction of ordering medication from Canada (unless that comes under "counterfeit medication" somehow) It constantly baffles me how America prides itself on being a model of democracy, and also lives in terror and fear of it's own government.
Of course, this law could be misapplied and abused, but that's a case for the courts to decide. If you don't like what it says, fine, write your congressman and complain, that's what they're there for, I believe. If you're pissed because you won't be able to get free movies, songs and porn, I have no pity.
Things that could mortally wound the internet; The end of unlimited data and SOPA/PROTECT-IP/E-PARASITE (or whatever else they're going to call it after the next rewrite).

This list keeps getting longer and longer.
Not convinced it will kill the internet, may kill visa, mastercard, and paypal as people switch to other online currencies that can't be tracked in the same way credit card transactions can. Also will likely force more people onto tor and distributed dns outside of their ISP's to get info.
This is simply a law that our congressmen/congresswomen are pushing through at the behest of their constituents (corporations). Before long, people will not be able to vote, only corporations. People have already lost constitutional rights/freedoms. More and more are being lost daily.
+Jack Faire Not as such. If that were all it was intended to do, it could be much more narrowly worded. When they write a law that is this overbroad, or which gives the authority to decide what a violation is to an unelected bureaucrat, it means they intend to abuse it.

The base intention of this law is to protect outdated business models by shielding corporations from competition. It's just dressed up in the fancy togs of protecting intellectual property.

There's already a way for companies to protect themselves from piracy, it's called the Copyright Act.
+Jack Faire - It gives the powers that be too much control over what's deemed "illegal content". Many things (showing proof of corporate bribery of a politician, for example) could be labelled as "illegal activity" (illegal use of a company's trademarked name and alleged libel would be enough) and censored or seized. It's easy to envision corporate lawyers quickly and easily getting temporary restraining orders or preliminary injunctions to censor an material in question and making it take years before any single act of censorship under SOPA is brought before a court for proper trial.
Why would you ask for my help with a message starting "Don't be a dick!"?
Let's see if this Google+ thingy has a "Block insulting messages" option...
+Steven Mansfield, thanks for posting that. My representatives are all in the pocket of the RIAA so there would be no stopping them from putting in the time to get the kickbacks. :|

As an aside: one of the Senators of my state ... has been in office since the year I was born (30+ years). From "He ran on the idea of creating term limits for Senators. He claimed that Senators, including (his opponent), had lost touch with their constituents."

Yeah... lost touch, eh? :)
What can us non-Americans do? Feeling pretty useless over here in the Southern Hemisphere.
+Kym Ryan This proposed legislation does a lot of bad things. For one It allows copyright holders to go after websites, not just infringing content. For example, if there's a video from a TV show posted to YouTube the copyright holder can screw with the domain names and make it so no-one can go to YouTube. This is without oversight. Copyright holders will be able to do it just with an allegation, whenever they feel like it.

I'm a copyright holder myself and I think this is a really, really bad idea.
Alex D
Ok, very interesting and compelling argument, but...very poorly stated. You need a shorter, clearer, and bolder version of this article if you want to raise awareness. What does the future law plan to do? How is it going to be inexcusably damaging to web communities? Who is threatened, who benefits? Put that in a short article and you MAY have a positive answer from the web users. Keep it in a boring poorly written article and you're just making background noise.
+Jack Faire you have noticed that corporate interests aren't really all that interested in making sure that you're actually "like Napster" before suing/taking down your site/shuttering legal sites, right?

They already have legal remedies, they just believe that it's too much work. And they're busy making money.
I think what can stop piracy is fair and reasonable pricing and availability. I think the divide between pirated media and legal media is still too large to make a dent in illegal downloads.
I don't understand why people think that it's OK to infringe on copyrights. When you have an image stolen and others profit from it without compensation to the creator then this is OK? It seems that this is what the opponents to this law are suggesting. Case in point: Or did I miss something?
i love the internet save it vote no
If you think you're to small to have an impact, try going to bed with a moskito in the room.
+Jeremy Collake Hey, you're a constituent. When a constituent places a call to a Congressional office and voices an opinion, that is added to their data--they assume that for n calls, x other people in the constituency also hold that opinion but did not call. You don't have to bring whether or not you voted for this Congressman into it, and they shouldn't ask about it. If they do, don't tell them.
david w
but for now, you can still say what's on your mind.
we have the same type of bill in france, but fortunately its not bein acted upon as it costs too much to police everyone : some of our ISPs legally loophole around obligations.
but we are living in dangerous times - internet is a self operating anarchy that seems to work for now. Corporations and power centres want to control it, as to do so will take all the edge of real freedom of speech.
imagine the world's internet operating in the way we hear china's net works..... then say, we should have stood up, before it happened....
or be counted now...
+Alan Neilan According to Google Translate, Sopa means "Sweep" or "Broom" in Swedish. It does, however, translate to "a beating" in Azerbaijani.
Well, there goes Youtube, and my daughter's dance recital's use of pop songs to dance to....
Power is too centralized, that is the one thing maybe the GOP has right. If we had more power in the States, it would be harder to corrupt. Of course, take that too far, and the union falls apart.
I take it back I'm reading through HR3261 now, there is some seriously nasty shit in this.
If their intent is to wear us down, it's working. Seem every 2 years I'm reading about a new internet killer bill.

Twice the US Congress and Senate saw fit to ratify civil liberties and protections from the federal and state government on the issue of asset seizure. The courts and law enforcement have made it a regular habit to test the boundaries of these civil rights, not to be deprived of property or liberty without due process. States steal assets from suspected drug dealers without due process, often without so much as an accusation or trial. And, now the federal government wants to continue unabated taking down websites that are simply accused of illicit behavior.

When you ignore the concept of diligent due process, we cease to have any rights.
This article sucks. WTB less vagueries: "legal language is often different than stated intentions" ~ What??

Also: fails to actually tell you how it will supposedly work to "kill" the internet.

I'm also a little confused how a US bill could kill the internet for everyone worldwide.
+Brandon Hastings I know, it won't kill the internet worldwide, but mostly. I mean, most websites are from the US, and if we get blocked off, it would just plain suck.

Obviously we'd still be able to browse and shit, but similar laws could pass here too after seeing yours.

EDIT: Btw Wil, I kinda hate you for your role in The Big Bang Theory, you can't be such a douche to Sheldon =(
Watch the video - it explains it - and YES many pieces of legislation have had effects that were much different than the stated intentions. Those are called "unintended consequences" - even though sometimes they are very much "intended" but not advertised.
+Jeremy Collake By June 2011 you are 311.484.627 moskitos in USA.

"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. You must be the change you want to see in the world." (Mahatma Gandhi)
Could this have anything to do with the porn up on Facebook? Are people protesting Facebook by hacking it and putting nude photos of porn up? I don't know what we should do to stop this bill but it's very dumb of the government to do this, coming from a 16 year old.
I have been using the internet for over twenty years, and this is one of the oldest sky-is-falling stories that have circulated in that time. The fact of the matter is that they can already take down any site they want, block payments to any party they want (see Wikileaks), and hold anyone in detention for any reason, or no reason, as long as they want (see Bradley Manning and many others). SOPA doesn't give them any more power than they already have. It's just another shakedown of Hollywood for campaign money. Really.
Also, current IP law is much crazier than most people realize (I deal with it a bit in my job and am routinely surprised), but IP law is simply difficult to enforce over the internet. They want more tools to enforce those laws. However, the dangers of allowing them the power they would need to have in order to enforce IP law strictly over the internet, is not worth the benefit of protecting their financial interests. For example, we could strictly enforce laws against drug use by drug testing everyone in the country and giving "Xe" the authority to randomly kick down doors to homes and cut open our living room sets....but we don't.
+Brandon Hastings Many "global" sites are based in the US.
Many infrastructure sites (DNS, etc) are based in the US.
This may not kill the entire internet worldwide, but it will seriously mess it up.
Leave it to the American government to fuck everything up
This will only be for us citizens right??? Im glad i live out of the us jaja
This sounds very "master control program-ish" to me
What can people in other countries do? Know where I can even start to look? (I'm Canadian)
What is happening here (according to IP lawyers I know) is that companies in the U.S. with strong-arm other countries to pass restrictive IP law, and then talk the U.S. into making U.S. law "in line" with international practice. Then the U.S. does it, and everyone follows suite. That's how we got ridiculously long copyright terms - far past the life of the actual creators. LOOK - artists don't want this crap. People actually making the artistic content in the first place do not need restrictions and enforcement this draconian - in fact, when taken to extremes - it's bad for IP creators and only occasionally good for IP owners. And don't think this is going to protect small-business IP owners (such as cartoonists, bloggers, deviantart artists, lastfm musicians, etc)...cause nobody cares when big $$$$ isn't on the line.
Actions like this are already happening.... I await trial for Civil Conspiracy for speaking out against the greed aimed at the privatization of our public schools by for profit entities.
Yes this happens in America.
Quotes from posts in a private Yahoo Group were named in the original complaint....A SLAPP SUIT was filed to keep me quiet.
Radio's were once a great medium to communicate to the many,in 1912 there were a few rules for people who wanted licenses and no mention of corporations or broadcasting as most of the uses were private.

As the popularity grew the government stepped in 1927mainly because they wanted to control who got licensed and who did not as the past attempts to control this was overruled by the courts.

This point in time appears to have given radio to the corporations and a little later TV was not far from that, since TV really was just radio with pictures. This is just an extension of those laws from 1927 back when they knew so much about mass media and a medium that knows no borders. (My sarcasm hand was up for that last remark.)

Overall rating
It is worth fighting the legislation, but it's even more worth striking at the technical ability of various governments to hamper the internet. We need to go p2p as fast and as thoroughly as possible.
Dear Luddites:
Neither passing this law or being against it is in the best interests of the United States.
The fact is that the current Internet is NOT free. The Infrastructure (c.f. our crumbling highways) of the Internet costs money.
Our options are to 1. let Capitalism (the monopolies) pay for it, 2. Nationalize it (the Internet was essentially funded by public dollars in the early 90's, 3. Regulate it as a Utility (controlled monopoly).

I prefer Nationalizing the Internet as critical infrastructure, however regulating it as a Federal utility would probably be the only politically viable solution. Make it like Canadian healthcare: free basic bandwidth to all but allow premium providers to sell additional services.
You may not be able to stop progress but you can sure delay it. Just look at the governments jobs bills and you'll see delaying the future.
I suggest EU and Asia start their own DNS clusters and then disconnect the USA from the global network because of nefarious endangerment of the global economy. The sickness can still be contained.
+Lance Fordham Opponents of this law are not people who are only interested in stealing copyrighted material. Opponents of this legislation are against it's vague, overbearing wording and its ability to shut someones website (and often times, entire business) based on an accusation. Not "innocent until proven guilty", but "completely shut down for violating this BS law and the burden of rebuilding and fighting to open back up are on the accused... to be filed within 5 days or you've completely lost"

That is (in a simplified example) the power this law gives to large companies who are pushing the law. Easy way to squash up and coming small companies in their market. Highly anti-competitive in that respect.
I wrote my senator (who is one of the co-sponsors of the bill) and offered to meet with him. As a person who's livelihood is based around free speech and IP, this bill frightens me.
My god... this is possible one of the most horrible things I have ever read.
Thank you, +Wil Wheaton . I'd only heard of this in vague terms, and this helps to lay it out.

+Kym Ryan What would it allow to happen? If you make a site that allows a user to post anything, no matter how small, and some user decides to post a link to a random youtube video which includes copyrighted music in the background, your site could be shut down.

This could even shut down Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Possibly going so far as to shut down LinkedIn, too. Forums, Blogs, anything where any user is allowed to post content, can be completely shut down without viable recourse for the person being shut down.

How about Google groups, too? Those can be killed. Once even a link to copyrighted content appears, a copyright holder can demand the shut down of the site that has the link.

I am astounded. This might be the single worst piece of legislation I've ever even heard as regards copyright and the internet.
How many names does this crap go by? COICA, PROTECT IP, SOPA..and they're already working on a follow-up bill called the "Ten-Strikes" bill (and several other variations). Sign the petition @
Will, have you read the bill. Its Texas blah blah double speak and will never pass committee. How about a focus on real stuff, like climate change. The Internet is safe, learn about it, and not promoting scare tactics.
+Chris Bristol If you're gonna harp on the guy for posting something he's concerned about, you could at least spell his name correctly. Sheesh.
This is insane! I have just sent the quick template letter to my congress(wo)men.
i know its very important and a lot of people are worried about this.So when u guys have all calmed down and accepted it for what it is and found a solution can u check out these guy's site thanx guys..make the internet safe for EVERYONE
When I moved to share this, it had 1337 shares already. This is a sign. :3
Will, I am the last person in the world to trust the government, but Boing Boing spends so much wasted time bitching about the bill that they never state what it really is, just scare tactics. Here we go.
If you guys want to get something done, quit blaming political parties and actually band together. Bickering among yourselves accomplishes nothing.

If you are against the bills, contact your Senators and Representative. You can also e-mail the Whitehouse. When you do this you need to have clear and accurate reasons for your being against it. Don't be overly wordy, don't assume what other people have told you is true. Look at it for yourself.

If you start throwing a bunch of regurgitated talking points at them, they are more likely to round file your message.
Heeeeeeeyyyy guys, come on !!! I don't believe this is to kill or interfere to anything. the internet issues are too complex for this "SOPA" to be presented like that. Some companies like Google, Facebook and other High Tech Companies may talk nicely for our support but, the QUESTION here is: IF WE HAVE TO STAND UP TO ASK CONGRESS NOT TO DO THIS OR THAT, what can Google and other do to protect US (YOU, YOU and YOU and myself).
How many dangers will we be exposed to just by someone's CLICK and greed?
Anonymous, Wikiliks and other are been celebrated for what they're doing and no one can stop them destroy anything.
Although our freedom is above everything, this freedom must respect others freedom.
If the Government is trying to do something, it means that something is going on and something must be done.

I do respect all of your thought but, let take this NOT differently but, OTHERWISE.

Thank you guys
#BrandonHastings "This article sucks. WTB less vagueries: "legal language is often different than stated intentions" ~ What??"

Language used in legal context does not always have the same meaning as it would in normal usage. Laws are written using words that have older Latin meanings, which are sometimes different than in current, common usage.

I's bizarre, but it's true.
Haven't called any numbers on yet. Please let me know if the numbers aren't working though so I can not use this link anymore.

Remember each state has TWO Senators, and to make sure you are contacting YOUR Representative.

Office #'s for all U.S. Senators and Representatives:

This one will tell you who your district's Representative is, and give you a contact form. Though, I would recommend filling out the form and calling.
So, being as how there are a great many internet users who live outside of the United States, are not U.S. Citizens, and whose voices are (to be blunt) not worth a rat's ass to U.S. legislators, where do we apply pressure? There is, within the U.S., an unspoken presumption that however goes the U.S. goes the world - this is no longer the case, if indeed it ever really was.

No country lives in a vacuum anymore, and if the U.S. picks up its DNS marbles and goes home, there are plenty of other technologically-competent nations with a vested interest in keeping world-wide network communication up and running - America or no America. The U.S. could well find itself running an Isonet that stops at the edges of the lower 48 states, while the rest of the world gets on with improving network infrastructure.

It is all very well to cry "Write Your Congressman!" - but for those of us - Canadians, Brits, Europeans, Scandinavians - in short citizens of western democratic countries outside of the U.S.A. - to whom do we write? How do we apply pressure? Where is the pressure point for those who don't vote in American elections?

I would really like to hear a serious answer to this question to someone with detailed knowledge of the subject, preferably someone who is a United States citizen who realizes that, yes, there are others out there just as interested in the fate and future of "the internet".

The existing DNS service is an outgrowth of the original ARPAnet, true, but we're long, long past that. Does anyone seriously think that the rest of the world will sit idly by with its collective thumb up its backside if U.S. legislators start screwing with DNS services and the worldwide network?

Canada does a billion dollars a day of business with the U.S. We're your largest supplier of petroleum.(sorry Saudis and Venezuelans). If it comes down to a pissing contest, we can easily turn off the taps - hundreds of thousands of barrels a day - and find markets elsewhere. (China is currently offering up to 50% more on spot pricing of many commodities, compared to existing contracts) Oil is a vital commodity, as are many other things that make up the North American economy.

The same is true of many other governments and many other commodities. We're all interdependent, whether we like it or not.

The last time I wrote to a U.S. Senator, I received a signed photo from his aide, along with a note telling me how much the Senator had enjoyed his vacation in Banff National Park. Since the letter I had sent was in regard to a matter more serious than, and other than how the Senator spent his holidays, I pretty much got the impression that on many U.S. Maps, the edge of the world is the U.S. border.

Ron Spiker wrote: "Turning off the oil would actually be a huge help. We could use our own massive stores and have cheaper prices. There would probably also be more development of other fuel sources."

Ron, I don't know how long your domestic reserves would last, nor that the price would go down. I suspect that prices would rise, not fall, as oil companies are greedy and will charge whatever the market will bear + 10%.

As to turning off the taps. Three days ago, the Premier of the Province of Alberta was essentially told "piss off" while in Washington to discuss the proposed Keystone XL pipeline - which would move Athabasca oil sands crude to U.S. Refineries. Interestingly. word here in the Capital city says that a proposal in on its way to the Provincial Legislature which would see building a pipeline for the same oil to a west-coast port, from whence it would be transshipped to Chinese tankers on a long-term contract.

Please don't get me wrong: I'm not anti-American, nor do I think a trade war would benefit anyone in either the U.S. or Canada.. Our economies are just too interwoven. But I do get awfully bloody tired of hearing Americans tell me that what happens in Washington controls the world. Seems to me that reality trumps that perception.

I have heard the suggestion made that the United States would invade Canada to gain control of oil supplies. Idiotic. We are neighbors and friends and allies, and that isn't going to change. After Pearl Harbour, Admiral Yamamoto commented that for Japan to attempt to invade the U.S. would be suicide, because there would be a gun behind every blade of grass. Interesting fact #537: firearms ownership in Canada is higher, per capita, than the U.S. So, there are lots of people who would defend this country, regardless of the respective sizes of our militaries.But, I can't see that ever happening, any more than I can see England invading Canada. or the U.S. invading Australia, etc. etc. etc.

I've contacted my legislators, federal and provincial. I've sent a letter to President Obama's office. What to do about the herds of congresscritters and senators is something still to be determined.
Done! I've contacted my legislators...Representative Dave Camp, Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow...via their websites. It's a very easy way to let your legislators know what you're thinking.
Wow, people are beating up Andrew Keen for his techcrunch article on how this the awfulness of this bill is exaggerated. Well, if you actually READ THE BILL, you'd see that he's right on the money.
Here's the bottom line: This bill, plain and simple, grants more power to entities more interested in making a buck than protecting free speech. Whether or not these IP holders have a right to protect their copyrights is beside the point, this bill grants them way more power than they need to do this.
#jamesdawe you can contact your provincial and federal representatives and let them know you would like them to contact our government to voice your concerns. You can probably also use the links that have been posted to e-mail our Whitehouse to voice your concerns.

Turning off the oil would actually be a huge help. We could use our own massive stores and have cheaper prices. There would probably also be more development of other fuel sources.

#carlluoma it potentially grants them the ability to be able to hose people. It doesn't directly give them power. Since the potential is there though, it will happen eventually if not right away.
Omg is this an American bill or Chinese government censorship? BTW thanks for adding to the public attention Wil :)
a petition link to the white house would be cool...while checking it out I noticed they don't have any headings for protecting free speech, etc...
+M. A. Melby What you said is more or less true, the only thing I would add is that the corporations paying for these laws are (for the most part) not American companies. That doesn't make the corruption involved any more palatable, but it does mean that the rest of the world is going to suffer from what their own corporations started.
This battle is so much bigger then just another law that is messing with the internet. This is about the future of the internet and who has control. The corporations WANT to give power over the internet to the Government. That way they can politely file paperwork to force people do what makes them the most money. To bad handing over the reins to the ever evolving internet to the SLOW moving Government would be horrific. Imagine if the department of "Black List Disputes" was under staffed or "busy" and it took 2 months to get your website or blog or content fixed because it was falsely blocked (think Hotfile and Warner Brothers).
Man, you are writing BAD sci fi. The entire purpose of the internet is to be indestructible. Think sit-on-wall-street, just get the nerds mad :)
I hope it passes! Wake these sleepers up that they are losing rights and freedoms daily. Welcome to the Nanny STATE!
Wasn't being mean to Wil Bing Bang, I was commenting on Jon Melberg's odd rant. Yes I know Wil has done other stuff, the Big Bang ref was just in fun. Dare I say STNG.....Recent writings, online postings.
Yes you can. The opposite of progress is congress.
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ADAM POPESCU - very very scary stuff from +corydoctorow - when's he going to join google+ ?
Here's an idea: change terms of use to forbid anyone from accessing content on your site to gather evidence for legal action. Should you get shut down by SOPA, get your Federal Prosecutor to file suite for "exceeding authorized access " under the CFAA. Let's turn one crappy law against another. I wonder which law would get trumped.

I think the plaintiff would need to be outside the 9th district to have a chance. That court is bought and paid for by the MPAA and RIAA.
this affects essentially the planet, especially if PayPal is involved...
How constitutional is SOPA wrt the freedom of assembly? That is, what happens if a site (G+, facebook, etc) is taken down for one reason (SOPA) that is independent of others who are assembling peacefully?
Other sites have tried to ban other countries from accessing content from their site. That's where anonymous proxys came from. If this goes through, that or something similar will become the normal addon to your browser.
SOPA means "garbage" in swedish. I feel the clue is in the title of this one.
SOPA means soup in Portuguese...
I wish I were Swedish.
Well, if Big Brother is watching, nobody said you couldn't stab him in the eye for looking at you funny. Not that US Congressmen care about Australians despite the one sided ANZUS Treaty, but you all know from Crocodile Dundee that we're infamous for knives, especially since they took our guns away. Under every Australian man there's a Max Rockansky, a Road Warrior screaming across the outback wasteland to get out. I remind you, Starbucks didn't thrive down here. STARBUCKS. Do you know how brutal the landscape has to be to defeat Starbucks? I can't imagine the Outback will take too kindly to SOPA either, maybe not today with our current flaccid members of Parliament, but someday, we'll turn this Road Warrior Hellscape into a Bartertown with Internet that works.
"destroy the internet" literally means the internet will be destroyed and my attempts to use it for e-mail, web access, etc. will be futile.

"destroy the internet" as you are using it is hyperbole.
Go visit China, and I think you'll see how well the government can exert control onto the internet.
Spreading the news as far and as wide as I can!
So my comment about handing control of vital parts of the internet over to any one organization (potentially our Government) is bad SCIFI? And the flow of dispute resolution against falsely black listed websites/content is not going to move at a snails pace? Every threat to our information freedom is something to worry about.
I have tried to read the Bill(s), but I don't know what to make of them. In plain English (for those of us who do not speak "legalese") what are they planning on doing?
+Albert Meza In a nutshell, as I understand it, what they are planning on doing is Big Brother can say "I don't like this website" and jackbooted thugs will 'take care of it'. But look at the good news, you get to live in China without having to move.
Oy vey! What a shonda. Instead of making things better, they complicate them more. Feh
Why hasn't any website created an easy "contact your representative" site: Choose your State/autofill your contact info/tweak and send sample letter of outrage...
+jonathan phillips OpenCongress has that. Use it.
+Albert Meza +Brandon Bowers check the comments in the full bill text. I've left comments on some important sections. OpenCongress is there for people to discuss these laws like normal people, rather than politicians.
*it will destroy the INTERNET IN THE U.S.A. rather only :/
+Brian Corbino Yes ... that sleight-of-hand works because the American public doesn't seem able to pay attention to more than one issue at a time. Kinda like angry parakeets, really.

Well, as Lazarus Long once said, "The popular will is often an idiot."
I have a feeling that this is a more dangerous ruling:

We already have selective enforcement... think "speeding", everyone speeds, but it allows law enforcement to be selective at who they "catch". Interesting how our current legal system puts everyone in some sort of illegal situation which allows for a Police State mentality. Yeesh.
but if it passes in america, other nations will follow.
Wow. SO much complete lack of understanding of what this proposed bill even does... This is total FUD. It STILL requires a court action, it requires the infringing site to have "no other legitimate business purpose" (meaning, quite simply, they CANNOT shut down a legitimate site simply because it contains SOME pirated content, it has to exist near exclusively for pirate content).

The major firms against this, they're not at risk of being taken down, they just dont want to deal with all the takedown notices coming from courts they'll have to obey instead of simple ones from content owners that have safe harbor to commonly ignore. It means reaction from legal instead of IT.

Due Process still applies. There is ZERO legal difference between this new law and simply getting a warrant for takedown, which absolutely can happen (and does) under existing laws. This does not give government a single power it doesn't already have. It only STREAMLINES and standardizes an existing process to help clean courts out if all the BS cases against individuals, and save taxpayers (and site operators) money. 
Many of you probably know this quotation: Fascism should rightly be called Corporatism, as it is the unholy merger of corporate and government power. Benito Mussolini said that, and you know what? He was absolutely correct. Of course, he was a fascist dictator, and what our government is doing, right now, is a classic example of the behavior to which he was referring.

Granted, it was the media conglomerates that started this business. It's perfectly in character for them: throughout their existence, they've attempted to suppress every technological advance that might impact their iron-fisted control of content distribution. The tragironic aspect to this is that every single time they tried to kill off a promising new consumer product and failed, they ended up making billions more from that very same technology. Of course, they didn't make squat from the tech they successfully killed. You don't hear the head of Vivendi complaining about how much money they lost on sales of Digital Audio Tape.

Their attitude towards the Internet is no different. The could indeed make an incredible amount of money if they but had the wit to see it. I mean ... my God. The utter lack of vision on display here is truly breathtaking. You know, I rather believe that the original Luddites would be aghast at the arrogance and corruption that surrounds the entire industry. It's one thing to protest change: it's another to corrupt an entire legal system and injure hundreds of millions of people. Whatever the polar opposite of "enlightened capitalist" is, that's what they are: they do not care who they hurt, as long as they can control what content we consume, where we get it from, and what we do with it.

In the past, the government usually took our side. Remember the original Sony vs. Universal decision handed down by the Supreme Court? The one that made it clear to the the industry that the video cassette recorder and time-shifting were perfectly legal, so long as there were "substantial non-infringing uses"? Yeah, that one. The movie industry tried to make the VCR illegal. They failed ... and then continued to reap billions on sales of pre-recorded tapes, to the point where the take exceeded their income from theater releases. Incredible, but that's how they think, if you can call it that.

Here's the thing: we're being victimized by some excruciatingly bad timing. In the post 9/11 period, we've experienced a (not entirely unprecedented) power grab by the Federal Government. At the same time, the content industry wants the government to spend more money "policing" the Internet, and itself wants unConstitutional law-enforcement powers. It's noteworthy that Congress and the Supreme Court have proven increasingly friendly to both law enforcement and big media in the past decade, and I believe that SOPA is just the beginning.

Keep this in mind as well: people keep referring to "Hollywood" as the source of the bribes and other near-treasonous acts being promulgated against the American people. That implies that it is American corporations that are doing this ... but it is not. Vivendi, BMG, Viacom ... a number of the outfits behind the Audio Home Recording Act, the Sonny Braindead Copyright Extension Act and, of course, everyone's favorite, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (among others) are in fact not U.S. corporations. You have foreign-owned organizations wining, dining, and bribing our elected officials, while literally writing laws to which we are subject, but they are not. And lest you think I'm kidding, the original text of the DMCA was found to have been written by a law firm hired by the MPAA.

This is an untenable state of affairs, and the Internet isn't even the real issue here. There's far more at stake.
If I did comment on this before, it bears repeating:
At one may find out who their elected officials are and how to contact them.
I don't like the sound of this, another stupid American law. I'm not a "citizen" of the USA, so I have no-one to call in order to protest it.
I read somewhere in a related link that most pirated material comes from about 20 known sites. Why do we need new legislation to deal with them? THAT is the problem with these bills... this has nothing to do with actual piracy. I don't want to have to police my user-generated content because someone links a youtube with music playing in the background.
There are so many problems on this planet. And politicians don't have anything better to do then to think up BS like that... Grrrr...... Makes me really mad!!
+Tony Collins You don't have stupid laws in your country? Please tell me where that is so I can move there.
The reality is this: there is no legitimate need for this law. +Jack Faire seems to think that this is, well, fair, but in truth it is not. As +Brian Corbino already pointed out, copyright holders already have means of redress under the law: it's called "The Copyright Act", and all the various successor Acts have done nothing but tip the balance of power even further towards the big copyright holders. What they want, by having the Justice Department and the public ISPs act as copyright cops, is to have someone else do their dirty work for them.

And that, my friends, is just ridiculous. I don't know about you but the government has better uses for my hard-earned dollars than to serve as a private police force. The exact opposite should be happening: the media oligopoly should be under very tight scrutiny by law enforcement, and should be held accountable decades of collusion and price fixing, for the billions they've stolen from the public, from their own stable of artists, and from the world by the technologies they've suppressed. SOPA has this exactly backwards: we are not the problem ... they are!

The Feds, on the other hand, want the legal power to screw with the Domain Name System at will, either for their own purposes or for their friends in big media. You may laugh, but remember that Obama appointed ex-RIAA attorneys to top spots in the Department of Justice, and they've already been mis-using their power to support frivolous file-sharing lawsuits (this in spite of Obama's rhetoric regarding "restrictions" he supposedly put in place.) Like it or not, that was payback for his being elected President, and it's enough to cost him my vote already.

That's just too dangerous, is just too much power in the hands of those who've already proven their willingness to abuse it, and it is going to spark conflict with enemies and allies alike if it is allowed to continue. The EU has been making noises for several years about the potential for the U.S. government to abuse their control over DNS (or rather, Verisign's control ... but they're a U.S. corporation.) SOPA will do nothing to assuage their fears, and will in fact bolster them.

Does Congress truly believe that the rest of the world doesn't have an Internet connection yet?
Crisis not averted. The talks began yesterday I believe. Here is an article on how those talks went (so far, not good).
Den G
The sound of the internet will become crickets chirping and .xxx domains making other semi-interesting sounds.
+Ron Spilker +David Carlisle See, something like what you wrote probably should have been included in the article. In its current form the article is little more than rambling, useless fluff.

I would also point out re: "legal language is often different than stated intentions" that the first few approaches a court takes to interpretation are similar to Article 31/32 VCLT and involve: (1) plain meaning and (2) intent of the drafters
+Brandon Hastings yes, and I think their intent is quite clear ... restore the unquestioned control of content distribution that was broken, nay, shattered, by the Internet and the rise of peer-to-peer file sharing. They don't deserve to get it back, because consumers and artists alike will again be beholden to a group of very dangerous sociopaths. Folks like +Jack Faire need to understand just who we're dealing with here.
It kills me when people who have no clue about how technology actually works make rules regarding that technology. Happens all the time where I work.
The worst part is that most people won't even do anything to stop it until its too late. They won't care until they wake up one day, go online, and finally realize what's happened. THEN they'll start ranting and raving like the rest of us have been.
I've mentioned it at work... I work with a lot of "non-geeks" and they have no idea this even exists... I try and boost awareness, but with non-techs not even realizing what damage this may cause... well, it's very hard. You end up being a minority in the process.

I will always still try... and I'll spew my fiery speech accordingly... :D
We can only "Plant the seeds" and hope.  Plus, if u move too fast it attracts the eyes of our Big Brother and tht is Never good!
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