EFF in the News
Some who oppose the bill, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an online rights group, see a bright spot in a potential compromise called the OPEN Act, which would provide for the International Trade Commission to judge cases of copyright or trademark infringement
OPA is incredibly far-reaching, and targets even software authors and Internet service providers. Undoubtedly its severely chilling effect would affect the entire industry. I think it’s already been well-stated by the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF):
“You are the party of future,” said John Perry Barlow, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, at the protest. “But the party of past is fighting to keep their power. The model of top down power is clinging to life. We are on threshold of world where we can all satisfy our right to know and create.”
Anti-Circumvention: In a Monday blog post, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) took issue with several provisions in both bills, including one that would "target sites that simply provide information that could help users get around the bills' censorship mechanisms." That, EFF argued, amounts to "unconstitutional prior restraint against protected speech."
In addition, local tech groups like Hacks & Hackers and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are staging a noon protest at Civic Center Plaza, at which prominent angel investor Ron Conway will speak.
If you'd like to show your opposition to SOPA and PIPA, you can write to your representatives using this form provided by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Q: How would my surfing change?
A: Obviously rogue sites, such as peer-to-peer music-sharing sites, would be "shut down" right away. You would not be able to access the site by typing its usual Web address. But that's "not going to stop people who want infringing work. They're going to find a way," says Julie Samuels, a staff attorney for Electronic Frontier Foundation.
“Social media sites like Facebook or YouTube—basically any site with user generated content—would have to police their own sites, forcing huge liability costs onto countless Internet companies. This is exactly why venture capitalists have said en masse they won’t invest in online startups if PIPA and SOPA pass,” wrote EFF’s Trevor Timm, who also noted that the bills would be devastating to the open source software community.
"What these bills propose are new powers for the government and also for private actors to create, effectively, blacklists of sites that allegedly are engaging in some form of online infringement and then force service providers to block access to those sites," says Corynne McSherry, intellectual property director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
As the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) points out, SOPA for instance, contains a provision that would allow the government to target sites that are seen as providing advice or help on how to circumvent the law. Such an anti-circumvention provision would amount to unconstitutional prior restraint and would apply to U.S. sites as well.