The best simple explanation of the concerns of SOPA come from artist and online comic writer Danielle Corsetto (Girls with Slingshots) who writes,
“These bills are too unclear about their proposed methods and actions. When taken to one extreme, the bill could mean that the US government wants people to stop stealing and monetizing other people’s intellectual property, and that they would be very careful about policing this. When taken to another extreme, the bill could mean that the US government could define IP theft however it (and its $upporter$) sees fit, and essentially shut down any website that so much as hosts a link to said thief’s site, even if it’s from an unregistered commenter.”
A more in-depth, and easy-to-understand treatise can be found on Reddit (A technical examination of SOPA and PROTECT IP). Please note the pretty little graphic from the Reddit blog that I “borrowed” as a way to garner your interest in reading their blog.
Now I quoted the text above, and used the illustration for two reasons. 1.) I’m lazy. 2.) To illustrate that under SOPA, this blog can now be shut down, as I have “pirated” content from two websites. This, despite the fact that under existing U.S. Copyright law, this article can be construed as a review of the two sources, and therefore, covered under the “Fair Use” clause.
In English: SOPA overrides existing laws that 1. Already work well, and 2. Aren’t enforced. This is a lazy law that allows people to shut down websites, saving the Government and courts the trouble of enforcing its existing laws.
UPDATE: Apparently, the DOJ reads my blog. Today, they used EXISTING copyright laws to go after Megaupload. Dear Anonymous, you guys are completely wrong here. You need to chill. Artists deserve adquate protection under the law. Period. They just need to be good laws.
Both the House and the Senate have tabled SOPA and PIPA.