What the hell is SOPA? [infographic]

All kinds of unsolicited mail pours into my inbox, and I ignore about half the stuff that probably matters -- that's if the Junk Mail filter doesn't grab it first. I'm particularly leery of messages promoting an infographic made by some organization that might have vested interest in the topic. But this one, from BusinessInsuranceQuotes, depicts such an emotionally-heated topic, I figured: "Oh, what the hell, just post the damn thing".

Feast your eyes on this little ditty about SOPA -- the Stop Online Piracy Act -- that I repeatedly mistype as "privacy", subconscious response meaning to invade it, perhaps. The infographic really lacks the drama SOPA would create if enacted as law. Little things like empowering the government to take down your site or seize your domain based on the presumption of guilt. That's the painless part. You go to jail if convicted. Perhaps Federal prisons aren't as overcrowded as California jails.

"What're you in for, bitch?" "My website linked to Lady Gaga's new album; it was pirated".

SOPA is picking up some surprising opponents -- and, yes, many of you are among them. What a strange juxtaposition, too. SOPA should, in theory, curb software piracy, so you would think major developers would back it. Some are so against the proposed legislation they've taken drastic action. This week, Kaspersky Lab ended its membership in Business Software Alliance -- the industry's anti-piracy trade group -- over SOPA. CEO Eugene Kaspersky faults BSA, which has "blindly supported SOPA while ignoring any other point of view. We had to withdraw from this association because we disagree with its decision. And this is why". He continues:

If we accept this law, hundreds of thousands of lawyers will suddenly appear out of the woodwork because almost any website can be accused of copyright infringement! This law will lead to major legalized extortion. The Internet business faces hard times -- look at those who do not want to join SOPA: eBay, Facebook, AOL, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Yahoo, Wikimedia, etc...

My position can be summed up as follows:

1. SOPA should be tossed onto the fire
2. The dinosaurs should be pensioned off
3. Content should be distributed in new ways, e.g.:

  • Low quality content is free. You can take as much as you can eat (for advertising, for example)
  • Medium quality content should be quick and cheap
  • High (professional) quality – expensive
  • There has already been movement towards the last point, for example, iTunes. Some studios are also practicing free distribution of low quality content for promotional purposes.

So far, 3,377 people have responded to BetaNews poll: "US Congress is considering two new copyright bills: PROTECT IP and Stop Online Piracy Act. Do you support them?" Nintey-five percent answer "No".

BetaNews commenter partypop: "This will stop privacy not piracy. Most hosted servers will simply relocate outside the juristiction of the US. This bill will only give more power to government to shutdown sites it doesn't like, i.e. WikiLeaks. k1jello: "Piracy laws are already in place in the USA, this is an attempt to gag and persecute people...Freedom of speech and privacy is at stake".

With that introduction, here's the infographic:

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