A great SOPA/PIPA analogy

Today, English versions of major sites like Wikipedia and Mozilla (my employer) are going dark to protest SOPA and the PROTECT IP Act. If you think SOPA/PROTECT IP Act is not a big problem, or if you are having trouble explaining why it is a problem to folks who are not as aware, a post by Mitchell Baker should help clear things up. Baker illuminates the problem, complete with references. You should read the article, it is not very long, but here is a snippet:

“Assume there’s a corner store in your neighborhood that rents movies. But the movie industry believes that some or even all of the videos in that store are unauthorized copies, so that they’re not being paid when people watch their movies. What should be done?

SOPA/PIPA don’t aim at the people trying to get to the store. SOPA/ PIPA don’t penalize or regulate the store itself. SOPA and PIPA penalize us if we don’t block the people trying to get to the store.

The solution under the proposed bills is to make it as difficult as possible to find or interact with the store. Maps showing the location of the store must be changed to hide it(1). The road to the store must be blocked off so that it’s difficult to physically get to there(2). Directory services must unlist the store’s phone number and address(3). Credit card companies(4) would have to cease providing services to the store. Local newspapers would no longer be allowed to place ads for the video store(5). And to make sure it all happens, any person or organization who doesn’t do this is subject to penalties(6). Even publishing a newsletter that tells people where the store is would be prohibited by this legislation(7).”

(footnotes left out, this is just a copy/paste, click through to to the article to see the notes).

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