20 ways sopa can affect the internet

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is now before the American Congress, waiting to be passed or not. With online piracy at an all time high, the US feels that it’s become almost impossible to manage traffic across borders. While the Congress ponders over this, the internet population is concerned as to how SOPA will affect the internet.

  1. Death Penalty For Online Businesses: SOPA authorizes sites that are reported for copyright infringement to be cut off from their domain name. ISPs can force advertisers and payment processors to suspend their services to the site.
  2. Sites Blocked And Sued For User Content: Sites which host copyright content uploaded by users can be blacklisted and blocked via ISPs, search engines and payment processors. This can be done without the benefit of a court hearing.
  3. Copyright Holders Can Sue Sites: Sites hosting copyrighted material uploaded unknowingly by users can be sued now and held accountable. Such sites have to comply within 5 days or risk total loss.
  4. Social Media Held Accountable: Social Media sites such as FaceBook will be held accountable for every copyright violation that their users commit. These sites will now be forced to proactively censor user content.
  5. Small Tech Companies To Suffer: Recently started tech startup companies may not have the resources to comply with SOPA standards and may have to close down as a result.
  6. Free Speech Rights Will Be Censored: Online businesses, user-generated content sites and social media sites will try to play it safe and start heavily censoring user content. This can stifle users’ free speech rights, making the internet a risky place to say anything at all.
  7. Downloading Free Content Will Become Risky: Users may not know which materials are still under copyright. This makes it risky to download content that is actually free or perceived to be free, as the site will be penalized.
  8. Legitimate Business Will Be Held Liable: The radical restructuring of internet laws may expose legitimate innovators and businesses to liability. This will only give rise to lawsuits, fewer jobs and lesser venture capital investment.
  9. Open Source Sites May Shut Down: Sites that operate open source software such as browsers may be shut down under SOPA. This is because several websites use the open source code for their copyrighted businesses, which in turn targets sites providing the same technology as open source.
  10. DNS System Will Be Undermined: SOPA requires internet service providers to filter DNS queries for websites that contain copyright infringed content. This act will undermine the DNS system integrity and also heavily tax websites that may unknowingly contain copyrighted material.
  11. Internet Speeds May Slow Down: SOPA would impose DNS filtering and also force ISPs to prevent access to certain sites. This means each ISP has to inspect the entire Internet traffic of its user base, which will consume additional resources and slow down ISP service.
  12. Downgrade Attacks Will Increase: A user running a secure application such as banking won’t know if a resolution failure is because of a court order or because of a hacked nameserver. This may cause an increase in downgrade attacks and hacking.
  13. Use Of Illegal Web Proxies Will Increase: Illegal web proxies that select non-US servers will be developed to circumvent DNS redirection. This will only cause havoc with the internet security protocol, Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC).
  14. Emergency Proxy Servers May Be Made Illegal: During emergencies such as the recent Hurricane Katrina, several proxy servers were legally set up to enable ad-hoc networks. However, such proxies can be used to thwart copyright enforcement and made illegal by SOPA.
  15. Streaming Sites Will Be Penalized: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and similar sites that host user content can be criminalized, because SOPA fails to distinguish between commercial and non-commercial conduct. Due to the lack of concrete definitions, SOPA can criminalize conduct that is actually permissible under current law.
  16. Online Album Sites Will Shut Down: SOPA may force album sites such as Etsy, Flickr and Vimeo to shut down. These sites have no way of knowing at this point which albums or photos are copyrighted.
  17. Browsers Will Be Penalized: Any website that links to copyright infringed material will be penalized or sued and this includes browsers that throw up search results linking to copyrighted material.
  18. ISPs Will Infringe On Privacy: The intense monitoring and censorship authorized to ISPs will give rise to deep packet inspection, which means minute inspection of user data and communication.
  19. Legitimate Links Can Be Deleted: In their effort to clean up links to copyright infringed material, legitimate links to the same content can also be deleted, since SOPA does not provide concrete directions in this matter.
  20. Browser Ability To Generate Fair Links Will Be Impacted: This means that users will not be able to search for the content they want.[amzn_product_inline asin=’B006ZN8HAQ’]
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