Today is American Censorship Day, and it’s supported by Reddit, MetaFilter, 4chan, Mozilla, Public Knowledge, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Free Software Foundation, Free Press, Wikimedia Foundation, PPF (Open Congress), Torrentfreak, Boing Boing, Creative Commons, Grooveshark, Demand Progress, Hype Machine, Techdirt, Irregular Times, Engine Advocacy, Center for Democracy and Technology and other groups. It coincides with hearings in Congress of SOPA or the Stop Online Piracy Bill.
Heavy hitters like Google, Zynga, AOL, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter and LinkedIn also oppose SOPA, and they sent a letter to explain.
SOPA, which was introduced last month in the House to the applause of lobbyists for Hollywood and other large content holders, is designed to make allegedly copyright-infringing Web sites, sometimes called “rogue” Web sites, virtually disappear from the Internet.
In a separate post, he explains:
SOPA is so controversial–EFF calls it “disastrous”–because it would force changes to the Domain Name System and effectively create a blacklist of Internet domains suspected of intellectual-property violations.
A Senate version of the bill called the Protect IP Act, which a committee approved in May, was broadly supported by film and music industry companies. But Google Chairman Eric Schmidt was sharply critical, as were prominent venture capitalists, civil-liberties groups, and trade associations representing Web companies.
After he first wrote those words, more people kept weighing in. Here are the updates he posted:
Update, 10:30 a.m. PT: Members of Congress opposed to SOPA have circulated their own letter (PDF)…. They say SOPA will invite “an explosion of innovation-killing lawsuits and litigation.” …
Update, 1:40 p.m. PT: The we-hate-SOPA letters keep flooding in. A few dozen civil-liberties and left-leaning advocacy groups from around the globe now are circulating their own letter (PDF), which says that “through SOPA, the United States is attempting to dominate a shared global resource.” …
And another! This letter (PDF) is from a slew of law professors, including Stanford’s Mark Lemley, Elon’s David Levine, Temple’s David Post, and UCLA’s Eugene Volokh. They seem even more generous in their criticism than the other letters, warning that SOPA “has grave constitutional infirmities, potentially dangerous consequences for the stability and security of the Internet’s addressing system, and will undermine United States foreign policy and strong support of free expression on the Internet around the world.”
If it all seems complicated, here’s the take from the American Censorship Day crew: