Print - MythBuster Adam Savage: SOPA Could Destroy the Internet as We Know It - Popular Mechanics
Make no mistake: These bills aren't simply unconstitutional, they are anticonstitutional. They would allow for the wholesale elimination of entire websites, domain names, and chunks of the DNS (the underlying structure of the whole Internet), based on nothing more than the "good faith" assertion by a single party that the website is infringing on a copyright of the complainant. The accused doesn't even have to be aware that the complaint has been made.
I'm not kidding.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), passed in 1998, is a lousy piece of legislation and a very useful lens through which to regard these two new pieces of legislation. Think of all the stories you've read over the past 14 years of people slapping DMCA takedowns of content that they didn't own, just because they didn't like what it had to say. One that comes to mind is Uri Gellar, the popular psychic who performed spoon bending and other tricks on TV in the 1970s. Using a DMCA claim, he had YouTube pull videos of him being humiliated during a 1973 appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, when he had no copyright claim to them at all.
This is exactly what will happen with Protect IP and SOPA. We've seen it again and again. Give people a club like this and you can kiss the Internet as you know it goodbye. It's really that bad. And it's a clear violation of our First Amendment right to free speech.
The Internet is probably the most important technological advancement of my lifetime. Its strength lies in its open architecture and its ability to allow a framework where all voices can be heard. Like the printing press before it (which states also tried to regulate, for centuries), it democratizes information, and thus it democratizes power. If we allow Congress to pass these draconian laws, we'll be joining nations like China and Iran in filtering what we allow people to see, do, and say on the Web.
And we're better than that.
Please don't just take my word for it. There's tons of information out there about these two bills out there. Google it. Read the Stanford Law Review's take on it. And read what Cory Doctorow has to say here, here and here.
Educate yourself. Call your congressperson or senator and make your voice heard. You can make a difference.