The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) are well-intentioned House and Senate proposals aimed at stopping the theft of intellectual property through foreign-based websites. Intellectual property is a critical and important form of property. The Framers understood that well enough to authorize the establishment of intellectual property protections when they drafted the Constitution, and we have had copyright protection in America ever since.
Some malicious actors use the Internet as a means of violating the copyright interests of creative producers in a wholesale manner. It is common to find free copies online (often of pretty good quality) of many recent movie and recording releases that can be downloaded and enjoyed without the original creators receiving compensation. That is fundamentally wrong, and the intent of the pending bills—to end online piracy—is the right idea.
But the manner in which these bills attempt to achieve their ends likely would not work. In fact, they would make the Internet generally less secure for everyone.
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