With SOPA Shelved, Anti-Piracy Advocates Take New Approaches
SOPA appears to be dead. But the battle over Internet piracy is not.
In the wake of the debate over the Stop Online Piracy Act, supporters of that now-abandoned bill are looking to Internet service providers for help; they’re also taking other tacks that Web-freedom advocates say could have much the same effect as SOPA would have had.
That bill, which came before the U.S. Congress earlier this year, would have made it easier to shut down websites that illegally share music, movies and other content.
Opponents of SOPA, which included tech heavyweights such as Google, Facebook and Wikipedia, argued it was too broad and could effectively stifle expression online.
Remember the Wikipedia blackout? It was in protest of SOPA.
But the entire time, Internet service providers, at the behest of trade groups representing the entertainment industry, have been preparing to police such illegal sharing voluntarily and, potentially, shut down sites they think aren’t playing by the rules.
Those actions could have the same effect that SOPA would have.
According to a leading recording industry spokesman, service providers such as Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable are expected to begin enforcing ramped-up anti-piracy policies in the next few months.
(Time Warner, CNN’s parent company, supported the legislation. Time Warner Cable is no longer affiliated with the company.)
“Each ISP has to develop their infrastructure for automating the system,” Cary Sherman, CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America, said this week at a publishers conference in New York. “Every ISP has to do it differently, depending on the architecture of its particular network. Some are nearing completion, and others are a little further from completion.”