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Over Regulation


In an economy struggling to create jobs the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) (SOPA) and Senate bill, the PROTECT IP Act (S. 968) threaten to not only stifle innovation but alter the very core of the current internet. The SOPA bill seems to over reach to the point of infringing on free speech, but every bit as bad is the 'shoot first, ask questions later" approach to enforcement. These bills impose crushing new responsibilities on websites and create a new "super class" of copyrights holders with way to much power.

The SOPA and PIP bills create sweeping new rules with the noble intent of stopping online piracy but create more problems than they solve with internet censorship being at the top of the list. Sites that allow users to post content could be targeted by the regulations as easily as websites taking part in criminal activity. This could easily stop the growth of small internet startups as they are overwhelmed with the task of policing the internet.

There are very real civil rights concerns in regard to the two bills. It may be possible for private groups, businesses or individuals to censor free speech with a simple accusation without first giving the censored group the right to a trial. The costs associated with defending ones self against an allegation covered by these acts could easily wipe out a small company. This in turn will do nothing but muffle the very creativity that has made the internet a frontier of economic growth.

Once again, the reality of over regulation threatens to harm the very people the U.S. government has sworn to protect. Maybe with enough opposition these bills can be permanently stopped, if not, many small internet businesses will have no choice but to take their ball and go home.

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