What is SOPA? SOPA stands for the Stop Online Piracy Act. It is one of two bills being considered by congress. The other is the Protect-IP Act. They want to prevent piracy and copyright infringement. But they do so in an overly-aggressive, innovation-endangering way. They allow the entertainment industry to censor sites they feel "engage in, enable or facilitate" infringement. The issues with SOPA: The Electronic Frontier Foundation describes SOPA as the "blacklist bill" because it would "allow the U.S. government and private corporations to create a blacklist of censored websites, and cut many more off from their ad networks and payment providers." That means the Attorney General would have the power to cut off select websites from search engines like Google. It could also cut off advertisers and payment processors like Visa from the sites. The Attorney General could essentially kill all of a site's traffic and revenue in a matter of days. SOPA only allows targeted sites five days to submit an appeal. That doesn't leave much time for them to defend themselves before losing their site and their revenue altogether. What tech companies and innovators are saying about SOPA: The heavy regulation SOPA implies isn't sitting well with many of tech's best and brightest. People from AOL, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Zynga, and Facebook have all signed a letter to congress that opposes SOPA. The letter states: "Since their enactment in 1998, the DMCA’s safe harbor provisions for online service providers have been a cornerstone of the U.S. Internet and technology industry’s growth and success. While we work together to find additional ways to target foreign 'rogue sites,' we should not jeopardize a foundational structure that has worked for content owners and Internet companies alike and provides certainty to innovators with new ideas for how people create, find, discuss and share information lawfully online.” These bills are a classic example of a government bought and paid for by a small set of entrenched, financialized corporations. In this case, the largest music and media corps, who are unable or unwilling to take advantage of new business models, are paying congress to create laws that let them destroy whoever they think acts against their interest, without due process. This, despite the fact that it has been repeatedly demonstrated that people will prefer to purchase their goods if they are offered at reasonable price and convenience -- in those scenarios, "piracy" virtually disappears. The "piracy" they are attempting to legislate against has also been successfully leveraged into increased sales. But, these corporate dinosaurs are not interested in figuring out how to make opportunity out of progress, they want to hold on to their outdated distribution model, and leverage the govt to do so. Meanwhile, in the free market, independent music producers are eating their lunch by taking advantage of new technology. Congressional votes on this bill will be a reliable indicator of whether each congressperson/senator is interested in serving their constituents, or a narrow group of corporations.