Posted 19 January 2012 - 07:41 AM
First I knew about this was when wikipedia redirected me to a landing page explaining they were attempting to raise mass awareness of this proposed bill, and by allowing it to go through we could be allowing the US government to censor legitimate websites.
I've read a few different stories on the net, but none of them seem to explain the situation in any great detail, other than to say the proposed bill would allow someone to be sent to jail if they were found guilty of streaming copyrighted material illegal more than 10 times in six months. From what I have picked up elsewhere, it would seem the bill would also include those "enabling or facilitating" which is, for me, the worrying part because even if a site like ours were to say something along the lines of "anyone who downloads films or music from the warez site blahblah.com is stupid" could theoretically be seen as promoting that warez site and we could then fall within the scope of the bill and be shutdown or even worse, I could be facing jail !!.
The bills would also outlaw sites from containing information about how to access blocked sites.
ISP's would have total immunity also if they blocked access to websites if they had "credible evidence" of copyright breaches which some say could lead to all kinds of blockages through commercial interests rather than illegal ones.
Personally, I think we all saw this coming, I did some time ago and have wrote about it on many occasions but for me the issue surrounding this entire debate is financially motivated which is never a great reason to attempt to mess with people's freedom of movement, especially on the net. On the other hand, I'd not necessarily complain about such a system if it were to deal with the number of sites readily available online which promote grossly offensive or highly inappropriate material, but unfortunately those sites won't increase the revenue for any country so it's unlikely anything will be done about them in the short term, so for now we'll have to continue to allow those poor innocent victims of horrific crimes which are published on sick websites to suffer and we'll have to bite our lip with the likes of YouTube and FaceBook who knowingly allow racism, bullying and all manner of inappropriate and offensive material on their sites whilst the US government (and make no mistake, the UK government most probably won't be far from their back) forge ties with the media giants to stop copyright theft.
The media giants attempted to catch the users who were copying this material, take them to court and fine them, they've obviously realised they can't sustain this, so they are trying their hand at this level now, but how long before they fail at this too and badger the governments into passing more laws to the extent that the media companies are essentially beginning to shape the way the internet is ran and controlled !??