If you have been hanging out online lately, you have probably noticed a considerable amount of buzz about Protect IP and SOPA, two bills currently in the Senate and House respectively that pose a considerable threat to HubPages and online publishing platforms in general, not to mention online security and free speech.
Here is a great video summarizing the Protect IP Act:
SOPA is quite similar, and many argue that it is even worse:
- The original purpose of the Internet regulatory proposal was to find a way to target offshore sites selling illegal goods to US consumers by operating outside the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice. It has gone a touch beyond that.
- The danger posed to us by this act is that it exposes HubPages and other lawful US firms to liability without due process (by encouraging firms to shut down, block access to, and stop servicing websites that copyright and trademark owners allege are illegal without due process or the ability of a wrongfully targeted website to seek restitution)
- SOPA also chills free speech, threatens US infrastructure (by proposing technological solutions that will create security risks), and creates a private right of action against US companies that have violated no existing law.
- SOPA is a direct reversal of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (among other laws and policies), and imposes regulations directly on companies like HubPages that are only serving as conduits for others’ content. It does this by holding sites that host or link to illegal content liable. If even a small portion of our site “enables or facilitates” someone else’s copyright infringement (for example, by “promoting” or linking to a pirated movie site), we would be considered liable.
- Were someone to take action against HubPages under SOPA, this person could order an advertising partner, payment service, or even network provider to stop servicing our site within five days.
SOPA and Protect IP could be the end of HubPages, as they could hold our site liable for any bit of content that encourages copyright infringement. This means that if any of our over 200,000 published authors publishes a Hub promoting, offering, or linking to copyright-infringed content, our entire site could be shut down.
HubPages does not stand alone in its opposition to this legislation. Other businesses, such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn, eBay, and AOL, as well as human rights organizations such as Reporters Without Borders, Wikimedia, Human Rights Watch, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are against SOPA and Protect-IP.
You can easily send a letter (already drafted) to congress by visiting the Electronic Frontier Foundation. If you would prefer to give your congressman a phone call or send a physical letter, you can find your local senator and representatives’ phone numbers and addresses by visiting Congress Merge.
We hope you’ll support us!