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We support the anti-SOPA protests

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Level 15 Extraplanar Programmer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: Toronto
Posted on January 18, 2012 at 11:05 am

So you may have heard that SOPA was shot down on Monday. Well, unfortunately, it's coming back next month, and the US Senate has also introduced the Protect IP Act, which is virtually identical to SOPA.

There's already a sea of information on why this legislation is bad for the Internet, so I'm not going to write a long opinion piece here. Instead, I'll just make a handful of salient points.

SOPA and PIPA will not stop piracy. As content producers, piracy affects our business, so I appreciate the sentiment, but this legislation is going to utterly fail at preventing piracy. The checks they put in place are child's play to circumvent if you're a pirate. Worse still, it does collateral damage to those of us working within the law, which means passing these bills is worse than doing nothing.

SOPA and PIPA will not destroy YouTube and Facebook. I just wanted to point this out, because a lot of doomsayers have been foretelling the end of these massive sites, and it's just not true. YouTube and Facebook have the resources to weather the storm, and anybody who focuses on this is missing the point and hurting the credibility of the anti-SOPA movement.

SOPA and PIPA will hurt small businesses. This is where the real damage is done. This legislation makes it prohibitively expensive to form the innovative start-ups that have defined the Internet. It would require us to put resources into tracking our users, and if we slipped up, we could have our website blocked from the US. That's not even to mention the invasion of privacy to our users.

SOPA and PIPA will hurt the competitive marketplace. Competition is the backbone of successful capitalism. Without it, you end up with monopolies running out of control. One of the things that has made the Internet great is how easy it is for an innovative start-up to compete, and this legislation will prevent that. Worse still, SOPA and PIPA don't have comprehensive policies for dealing with false accusations, which means massive companies can abuse this legislation to shut down their competition.

We here at Longbow support a free, competitive, and innovative Internet, and SOPA and PIPA are antithetical to those goals. Piracy is a real problem, but this legislation uses a sledgehammer where a scalpel is needed.

Learn more:
Watch the video
EFF's one-page guide to SOPA
Reddit's technical guide to SOPA and PIPA
Bycott E3 until the ESA stops supporting SOPA and PIPA