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SOPA Super-Summary

So, this is it, the final blog I am going to write summarizing the Stop Online Piracy Act. For those who stuck it out through the four parts prior to this, you deserve a medal and I really wish I could give you one. Hopefully, you have walked away from all of this being able to hold your own in a debate on the subject regardless of the side you have chosen to take (if you have chosen a side, of course).

 

This final blog is going to be a super-summary, a SOPA for the extremely lazy or extremely busy. I will attempt to summarize the entire bill in just a couple of paragraphs, highlighting the topics relevant to our chosen hobby of gaming.

As with my prior four blogs, what follows has nothing to do with opinion or an attempt to understand any behind-the-scenes purposes of the bill. Very simply what follows is fact and nothing but fact. My sole purpose in writing this is to educate and create an atmosphere of understanding and intelligence. Be aware that some of this is over-simplification, but that is the risk inherent in summaries of summaries. Here we go:

SOPA gives power to the Attorney General to prevent US customers from seeing or conducting business with foreign websites (those NOT based in the US) that are deemed to be dedicated to distributing unauthorized copyrighted materials, counterfeit prescriptions, prescriptions without a license, and corporate or government secrets. If the Attorney General does this, he/she must provide notice to those involved in ceasing the activity (payment providers like Paypal and internet service providers) as well as the owner or registrant of the website. All of the involved parties have the right to challenge this determination, but the court has the right to order an immediate shutdown before any challenges are heard. If the Attorney General shuts down a site and a challenge proves that he/she was wrong, the defending website has the right to seek damages for lost business due to the orders to stop US-based activity.

The bill details the process whereby the owner of intellectual property can seek to isolate a website's ability to conduct business with U.S. customers. To do this, they must submit a detailed request to agents of payment service providers and internet advertising agencies who can challenge as well as the offending website, this is very similar to how a cease and desist order currently works. The involved parties may challenge this order and the issue can go to trial. As with foreign websites, the court has the ability to order activity to cease immediately, before any objections are heard.

The bill also modifies existing copyright laws to include digital streaming as a form of copyright violations. It also increases the fines that can be charged for corporate espionage as well as prison terms. Finally, it sets up an agency designed to monitor and uphold the entire thing.

There it is; a summary of four summaries. Is it watered-down? Yes. Is it simplified? Yes. But what do you expect when you don't read the whole thing for yourself. Want to read it, go here, it is openly available to anyone interested. Want to read the other summaries, I would be honored to be your guide through the bill in a little more detailed fashion here, here, here, and here.

 
This has nothing to do with anything, it is just funny.

That's it, I'm done. Time to write something fun that people actually will read.

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