Stop SOPA. Save the Web.

Today, the House Judi­ciary Com­mit­tee held a hear­ing about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).  SOPA — along with its Sen­ate coun­ter­part, PROTECT-IP — is a dis­as­ter wait­ing to hap­pen.  Call­ing it a blunt instru­ment would be a com­pli­ment.  Essen­tially, it gives pri­vate actors the extra­ju­di­cial power to cut off traf­fic and adver­tis­ing money to sites that are 99.9% legit­i­mate, but hap­pen to have a few links or pages related to infring­ing mate­ri­als.  I’m not talk­ing about ran­dom web­sites, either:  Etsy.  Flickr.  Tum­blr.  All of them could face crip­pling lia­bil­ity that under­cuts the exist­ing DMCA notice-and-take­down sys­tem that — while most def­i­nitely imper­fect — has enabled the birth and flour­ish­ing some of the most inno­v­a­tive web­sites we have today.

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Here We Go: Copyright Issues Building in Campaign 2012

I just pub­lished a new post on William & Mary’s Stu­dent IP Soci­ety blog about the Rom­ney campaign’s recent deci­sion to pull down an attack ad from the Inter­net, after CNN approached them about the use of clips from their pro­gram­ming — specif­i­cally, the debate they hosted.  Although the cam­paign main­tained their use was pro­tected “under the law,” it com­plied with CNN’s request as a cour­tesy.  It seems likely the campaign’s use of the con­tent is fair, but obvi­ously the last thing they want is to waste resources on copy­right issues.

Read more analy­sis in the full post.