SOPA Markup on Hold. Now What?

In an unexpected move this morning, the House Judiciary Committee voted to suspend the markup of the hotly-contested Stop Online Piracy Act until the “next reasonable business day.” To the 10,180 of you who (as of this writing) have made phone calls to your respective legislators, consider the beginning of this post a hearty, well-deserved congratulatory pat on the back.

The good news is that we now have more time to sway more hearts and minds on the committee and in the Congress and educate them as to why SOPA is such bad legislation in its current form.

The bad news is, the next meeting could be as early as Tuesday.

Let’s keep the pressure on. Your voice is working. We heard that loud and clear in the halls of Congress this week. Now is the time to double down, make another phone call and let Congress know that as it stands right now, we stand united against SOPA and for finding a new way forward.

You can make a call right now at engineadvocacy.org/voice and now is the perfect time to let Congress know you won’t stand for an internet that is easily censored and made insecure.

Thank you for your work so far, and for the work we all will do over the next weeks and months. The tide is turning in our favor, so stand up, keep fighting, and together we can protect the this essential resource in our lives.

UPDATE: Chairman Smith has scheduled the next round of markup for next Wednesday, December 21st according to multiple sources.

Internet Censorship in Malaysia
We’ve heard through third parties that there have been a number of inquiries from both the Malaysian government and in-country press expressing disapproval for our having included their nation in our ad on Wednesday. They object to being listed along with China and Iran as example governments who have been known to censor Internet traffic within their borders.
 
We included Malaysia in this list because it recently ordered various sites to be blocked for copyright reasons without meaningful due process for the affected sites — just as the current versions of SOPA and PIPA in the United States would propose to do.
 
The Malaysian government’s desire to stop large-scale, commercial piracy is an admirable goal, and one that we agree with, but site blocking is not the right way to do it — it censors legal content unnecessarily (like the legitimate artists who use sites Megaupload to distribute their works); it is ineffective; and it threatens the security and integrity of the Internet.
 
By putting Malaysia in between China and Iran in that sentence, we did not mean to imply that its level of censorship and repression of free expression is akin to theirs. That would be a false comparison. To our knowledge, Malaysia’s action in this particular instance of copyright is a break from their history of fostering ICT development.
 
It is our hope that Malaysia will take steps to ensure it has no place on this list.

So, we shouldn’t have anything to fear from a bill entitled “Stop Online Piracy Act,” right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Read more at Beneblog

Keep the Web #OPEN

One of the main criticisms Hollywood has levied at Silicon Valley throughout the SOPA/PIPA debate is “Hey, it’s not a perfect bill but it’s not like you guys are offering better solutions.”

The esteemed gentleman from California (and a few friends) beg to differ.

Today, Congressman Darrell Issa launched KeepTheWebOPEN.com, a site on which he invites public comment on his proposed Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act, which is envisioned as a more sensible option to protect copyright online by using international trade laws as enforcement mechanisms.

You can visit the website, read the proposed bill in full and add your voice to what you would like to see in the proposed legislation at the same time. So take a look, and do what you can to keep the web #OPEN.