January 17, 2012

Ombuds Blog Goes 'Dark' to Protest SOPA

This blog is joining the protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (HR 3261) and related legislation pending before the U.S. Congress.  Although SOPA seeks to protect intellectual property, it would prevent me from linking to any other website unless I first confirmed that website was entirely free of any infringing links. The consequences of failing to take this onerous precaution would be extreme.  In short, this blog could not exist if SOPA were implemented.  Major websites such as Wikipedia, Reddit, and Boing Boing are going entirely dark on January 18, 2012. This is the best I can do.

Learn more at OpenCongress and Wikipedia.


  1. Good choice to do this today.

  2. Thanks for this, Tom. Google has an online petition against SOPA and PIPA at https://www.google.com/landing/takeaction/


  3. Constitutional law expert, Prof. Laurence Tribe has an excellent summary of SOPA. He writes:

    SOPA’s harmful impact is aggravated by the fact that the definition of websites“dedicated to theft of U.S. property” includes sites that take actions to “avoid confirming a high probability of … use” for infringement. Absence of knowledge of specific infringing acts would not be a defense. Thus, the definition would effectively require sites actively to policethemselves to ensure that infringement does not occur. For sites with significant third partycontent, the resulting burden would be overwhelming.

    In effect, the bill would impose the very monitoring obligation that existing law (in theform of the DMCA) was expressly designed to avoid. Until now, Congress has promised online services a safe harbor against copyright liability so long as they take down allegedly infringing material when notified of a violation. This bill would undo the statutory framework that hascreated the foundation for many web-based businesses.
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/75153093/Tribe-Legis-Memo-on-SOPA-12-6-11-1 at p. 13