Why you should care
Millions of people -- including engineers, security experts, Internet watchdog groups, tech corporations, innovators, editorial boards, libraries, industry groups, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and regular people -- oppose the bill as it stands.
[READ MORE: The US Stop Online Piracy Act: A Primer]
SOPA opponents claim the bill includes several provisions that will basically break the Internet, including:
- The right of the government to order an ISP to block access to any site it deems to be "infringing"
- The right of the government to order a search engine to "prevent the serving, in response to a query" of a link to a site it deems to be "infringing"
- The right of the government to order a payment network -- such as Visa or PayPal -- to cut off monetary access to a site that it deems to be "infringing"
- Legal immunity to anyISP, search engine, or payment provider that voluntarily cuts off service to an "infringing" site
SOPA also includes very broad definitions of what an "infringing" site is -- though the bill has been amended to include only foreign sites, it still says that a site can be accused if its core functionality "enables or facilitates" infringement. As TechDirt correctly points out in its comprehensive breakdown of why, exactly, SOPA and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA is the Senate version of SOPA) are "bad, bad ideas," one could argue the entire Internet enables or facilitates infringement.
On Thursday, a group of 83 Internet inventors and engineers sent an open letter to Congress voicing their opposition to both SOPA and PIPA. Meanwhile, well over 1 million people have signed the "Save the Internet!" online petition at Avaaz, and the Center for Democracy & Technology has a running list of parties who publicly oppose the bill.
Unfortunately, it looks like the House may be moving toward approving the bill. Issa's amendment was voted down 22 - 12.
The SOPA hearing on Thursday lasted 12 hours, and ended at 9:30 p.m. The hearing will reconvene Friday morning at 10 a.m.