This is the age of increasing government intrusion into our personal lives. Today, Wikipedia went dark, and Google, the webs most popular search machine blacked out their logo to protest impending legislation that would give the US government control over content on the internet.
PIPA, Protect IP Act, and SOPA, Stop On-Line Piracy Act, are two bills that would result in exactly that. PIPA is a Senate bill, and SOPA is a House bill. Both would force search web sites and other web sites to embargo so-called pirate web sites that sell or give away US copyrighted content like music and movies.
The Motion Picture Association if America is the primary driver behind this legislation, and they managed to get a lot of legislators behind the bill. This is big Hollywood money driving legislation that forces enforcement of copyright laws onto US companies and consumers. This is nothing but censorship by another means. It opens up government regulation of web content, and is such an obvious Trojan Horse that anybody can see it for what it is.
If the legislation comes to pass, Google would have to know all the pirate web sites in the world, and keep them from coming up on searches. Likewise, other web sites would be held responsible for links to the pirate sites, and the government could shut the sites down. This means you, friends, could be shut down and run out of business if somebody complains to the government about a link on your site.
We need strict enforcement of our intellectual property laws, but these bills are not the answer. Why cannot the government do its job by negotiating treaties and taking advantage of international laws to stifle the pirate sites? Why can we not with hold our foreign aid from those countries who shelter those scofflaws?
The solution to the problem is not simple, but that is no reason to make me responsible as a blogger and web site developer for the sins of others. We have enough bad laws.