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On Wednesday, November 16, 2011, Congress held judiciary hearings on a bill known as the "Stop Online Piracy Act," or "SOPA." Critics of the piece legislation have also called it the "Internet Blacklist Bill." SOPA was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives; its Senatorial counterpart, PROTECT IP, is also gaining traction.
Before we go into detail, let us first give you a summary of why we think these bills are scary: PROTECT IP and SOPA would create America's first system for Internet censorship.
Part of United States' copyright law, known as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), provides for safe harbor for online service providers. Safe harbor means that, for example, Wikipedia is not the one held accountable for copyright-infringing material that is uploaded by its users (rather, the uploader is).
PROTECT IP and SOPA completely repudiate this clause of the DMCA, and would allow the U.S. government or even corporations to censor a website. Similar to methods used by the governments of China, Iran, and Syria, a website could be removed as a result from major search engines, or DNS blocked in its entirety.
Why do we care? We stand with Wikimedia (and many other organizations) to ensure that we are able to freely collaborate on an encyclopedia under Creative Commons licenses. We do not want an Orwellian future where governments or corporations can actively censor the Internet under the guise of protecting copyright. This is not just an American issue; Wikia Inc. and Wikimedia are both based in the United States, and abide by U.S. law. It is not a stretch to say that even if you are not an American, you will see the effects of PROTECT IP or SOPA should they pass.
These bills endanger freedom of expression rights on the Internet. Please, whether you are an American citizen or not, tell Congress to oppose PROTECT IP and SOPA.
On behalf of the Call of Duty Wiki administrative team,
Bovell, 03:29, November 19, 2011 (UTC)