I have written before (here and here) about the bills now before Congress that go by the name of PROTECT IP in the Senate and SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) in the House of Representatives.  There are many reasons why these are bad bills, and an alternative approach has recently been proposed.  Since discussions about the flaws in these bills has entered the mainstream media, I have not felt a strong need to continue to write about them.  But I do think it is worthwhile to point readers to a blog post by Professor Marvin Ammori on the legal blog Balkinization about why he and Lawrence Tribe of Harvard have both written to Congress, independently, about the unconstitutionality of the bills.  This is a different, and in many ways more fundamental, objection then those that I have seen elsewhere.  Let’s hope Congress is listening.

 

One Response to SOPA and the Constitution

  1. Hendry says:

    It’s the fact that SOPA/PIPA do NOTHING to stop the thefts… instead, they hand over an inordinate amount of control over the internet to people who have demonstrated they cannot be trusted with that control.

    Over 90% of online piracy originates, and terminates, outside US borders. P2P sharing (the primary means by which piracy occurs) accounts for the majority of global internet traffic – but the majority of that traffic (over 90% of it) never so much as touches on US soil or US servers or US citizens.

    Most of the piracy problem happens in Asia & the Middle East – there is nothing about SOPA or PIPA that combats the actual problem.

    Instead of working towards solutions that encompass the existence of the internet, the proponents of SOPA are trying to make the internet a sterile, unexciting environment in the hopes that people will get bored with their computers and their smart phones and their connectivity… and will instead zone out in the theaters or come to concerts.

    SOPA is designed to allow the entertainment industry to drive people away from the internet and into physical venues that they can earn a profit from. That’s it in a nutshell.

    SOPA is not designed to actually combat the problem of piracy – because SOPA does not apply to the vast majority of those actually engaging IN piracy.