Very large book publishers Random House and Hachette Book Group have decided to support and lobby for The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the US. If SOPA or its backup bill Protect IP Act (PIPA) pass it will greatly change the Internet in many harmful ways for websites all over the web and their users. Random House handles distribution for both Vertical and the American division of Kodansha while Del Rey is a branch of Random House and Yen Press is apart of Hachette Book Group.
The Senate version is PIPA and SOPA is House of Representatives and if either passes it’ll include ways for the government to order American Internet service providers to block domain names of websites, payment services like PayPal to close accounts, search engines to modify their search results to not include sites, and ad services like AdSense from paying out to domains. Under SOPA Internet service providers gain immunity from blocking domains independently without request including if they’re blocking competitors if they themselves deem them as copyright infringing. Both bills would remove the provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that protects web hosts if they make an effort to remove copyright materials upon request. Variations of fee, lawsuit, and prison penalties for unauthorized steaming and downloading of copyrighted materials are there too. All without being under the public eye and without any method to counter or dispute it before actions are taken.
Protecting copyrighted materials for artists is one thing, but this is an extreme and dangerous addition to already existing laws and abilities that can already be used against piracy. Many law professors already have declared the changes unconstitutional as entire sites would mean even protected speech is suppressed, burden of proof is on the accuser, and people are innocent until proven guilty. A blog or user of a site would have to be careful who they’re linking to that the site has original content or permission from copyright holders even if the site just has photos of a vacation, fan art, and screenshots. SOPA also means toying with DNS of domains which could mean a less stable Internet or even less secure, but neither SOPA or its sponsors address this.
Discussion of SOPA and PIPA isn’t enough and along with registering to vote there’s more. Contacting corporations who support these laws, canceling orders with SOPA and PIPA as cancelation reasons, not buying products and services from supporter and their companies, and contacting your politicians are more examples of taking action.
If you see any information as incorrect or have more ways to take action, you may comment here or on the forums and this entry will be edited. Merry Christmas.
Phone & email at AmericanCensorship.Org including email for US State Department if not in US
OpenCongress.org pages for SOPA and PIPA
Contact Publishers & Distributors
Contact page for Random House
Vertical firstname.lastname@example.org and specific employees
Contact page for Hachette Book Group