Protecting a Free and Open Internet

Posted By Sean Robertson In Technology 01/18/2012

The United States Congress is currently considering a pair of bills, H.R. 3261: Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and S. 968: Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PIPA) which aim to combat the problem of intellectual property theft on the internet. These bills would allow the United States government to block web sites via a method known as DNS blocking, preventing browsers from resolving the domain names of blocked sites. This method is the same as that used by China, Iran, and Syria to block web sites they deem politically sensitive.

Due to the nature of the web and user-generated content, a web site operator could face blockage due to content he or she did not even produce. As a result, web site operators would be forced to self-censor user-generated content much more stringently than they do currently, thus severely inhibiting the real-time nature of social media, forums and the like. Unfortunately, there is no foolproof method for screening content in real-time (as multiple courts found in rulings against the Communications Decency Act and the Child Online Protection Act), so many legitimate links could end up being blocked as well.

DOOR3 believes in the value and potential of a free and open Internet. Many at DOOR3 oppose the SOPA/PIPA anti-piracy bills currently before Congress because they do not address the root causes of the problem they were intended to deal with and are overly broad, with the potential to severely hamper the free and open nature of the Internet. These will negatively impact all players in the tech space as well as consumers. You can read more detail about these bills here. If you agree, please take action and tell Congress not to pass SOPA or PIPA.

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