Alexis M Waide

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The LCA and SOPA

Another re-post from my discussion group blog.  This one is relevant to the current firestorm surrounding the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) bill.

November 21, 2011

I’ve been reading about SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) bill which was recently introduced by the House of Representatives.  SOPA was designed to strengthen the laws regarding online piracy.  SOPA could require internet providers to monitor their customers’ activity and block websites suspected of copyright infringement.

The Library Copyright Alliance, which includes as its members the ALA, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Associaton of College & Research Libraries, has written to Congress about SOPA and expressed their concerns.  Apparently there are some provisions that have the LCA worried, since they could undermine library activities.  According to this article, one of the provisions of SOPA “would expand the definition of “willful” copyright infringement to potentially include cases where a person believed in good faith that infringing conduct was lawful.”  If the definition of willful is expanded, libraries and archives could be facing a more limited spectrum of what is okay to copy and what is not okay.

Other critics of SOPA have been the EU, Verizon, Facebook, Google, and Yahoo.  Yahoo has actually pulled out of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in response to SOPA – the Chamber of Commerce is a big supporter of SOPA.  Google has threatened to pull out as well.

UPDATE: As of this re-posting, Google has still not pulled out of the Chamber of Commerce; however, the progressive website MoveOn.org has this petition to Google to get them to quit the Chamber.  And there is a potential alternative to SOPA being worked on by a bi-partisan committee in Congress.  Hopefully SOPA gets sidelined and this new bill pans out.

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