PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet
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[male narrator] The Internet is one of the United States' most robust and growing industries. It enables free and open communication among billions, and it's been the backbone for protests around the world. But a new bill proposes we give the power to censor the Internet to the entertainment industry. It's called PROTECT IP, and here's how it works. Private corporations want the ability to shut down unauthorized sites where people download movies, TV shows, and music. Since most of these sites are outside US jurisdiction, PROTECT IP uses a couple different tactics within American borders. Firstly, it gives the government the power to make US Internet providers block access to infringing domain names. They can also sue US-based search engines, directories, or even blogs and forums to have links to these sites removed. Secondly, PROTECT IP gives corporations and the government the ability to cut off funds to infringing websites by having US-based advertisers and payment services cancel those accounts. In a nutshell, that's what PROTECT IP will try to do. But in all likelihood, it'll do something else altogether. [♪♪] For starters, it won't stop downloaders. You'll still be able to access a blocked site just by entering its IP address instead of its name. What PROTECT IP will do is cripple new startups because it also lets companies sue any site they feel isn't doing their filtering well enough. These lawsuits could easily bankrupt new search engines and social media sites. And PROTECT IP's wording is ambiguous enough that important social media sites could become targets. Lots of trailblazing websites could look like piracy havens to the wrong judge: Tumblr, SoundCloud, and early YouTube. Wherever people express themselves, make art, broadcast news, or organize protests there's plenty of TV footage, movie clips, and copyrighted music mixed in. And even if you trust the US government not to abuse their new power to censor the Net, what about the countries that follow in our path and pass similar laws? People around the world will have very different Internets, and unscrupulous governments will have powerful tools to hinder free expression. But perhaps most dangerously, PROTECT IP will meddle with the inner workings of the Net. Experts believe by fiddling with the Web's registry of domain names the result will be less security and less stability. In short, PROTECT IP won't stop piracy, but it will introduce vast potential for censorship and abuse while making the Web less safe and less reliable. This is the Internet we're talking about. It's a vital and vibrant medium, and our government is tampering with its basic structure so people will maybe buy more Hollywood movies. But Hollywood movies don't get grassroots candidates elected, they don't overthrow corrupt regimes, and the entire entertainment industry doesn't even contribute that much to our economy. The Internet does all these and more. Corporations already have tools to fight piracy. They have the power to take down specific content, to sue peer-to-peer software companies out of existence, and to sue journalists just for talking about how to copy a DVD. They have a history of stretching and abusing their powers. They tried to take a baby video off YouTube just for the music playing in the background. They've used legal penalties written for large-scale commercial piracy to go after families and children. They even sued to ban the VCR and the first MP3 players. So the question is, how far will they take all this? The answer at this point is obvious. As far as we'll let them. Since we made this video, PROTECT IP has gotten much worse and is set up for quick passage. Now the government and corporations could block any site, foreign or domestic, just for 1 infringing link. Sites like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook would have to censor their users or get shut down since they become liable for everything users post. And ordinary users could go to jail for 5 years for posting any copyrighted work-- even just singing a pop song. [Write Congress now - FightForTheFuture.org/pipa] [♪♪] [♪♪] [Write Congress now - FightForTheFuture.org/pipa]
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