EFF Confirms: SOPA & PIPA, If Passed, Would Jeopardize Second Life and Its Users (And Here's How to Take Action)
So I asked the venerableElectronic Frontier Foundation if the SOPA bill, as I feared, would jeopardize Second Life and its users. Short answer: Yes. Also, another bill, PROTECT IP Act (or PIPA), is just as concerning. Specifically, EFF staff attorney and intellectual property expert Mitch Stoltz told me this:
"We think that SOPA, and its companion bill in the Senate, the Protect IP Act (PIPA, S.968), will have a serious impact on any Internet site that hosts user-generated content. The bills are not limited to websites - they could be directed at any Internet-based business that uses the Domain Name System, buys or sells advertising, or accepts electronic payments. Although the bills are targeted at foreign "rogue" sites that allow indiscriminate piracy, they use vague definitions that could sweep in many legitimate sites, including domestic U.S. sites in some cases. They also undermine some of the protections against harassing lawsuits that Internet-based businesses have today. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, sites that host user content can't be held liable for copyright infringement by users as long as they respond to valid takedown notices and comply with some other requirements, but they don't have to look actively for infringing content. Under PIPA and SOPA,all sites that host users' content would have to become copyright police or risk being shut down because of the actions of a few users.
Emphases mine. Unfortunately, when I asked Linden Lab if they had a statement about SOPA, they declined to answer. My hope is that's only because they're preparingan answer, for a statement which was supported by well-known SL founders and boardmembers like Philip Rosedale and Mitch Kapor would add tremendous heft to the growing opposition among the tech industry. (Example: founding Linden Hunter Walk, who's now a bigwig at YouTube.)
That aside, if you're a US citizen, there's something you can do: Click here for info from the EFF on how to contact your representatives in the House and Senate. And please click soon: "PIPA, the Senate version of the bill," the EFF's Stoltz tells me, "will be up for a vote on January 23, so it's very important that people write, call, or visit their Senators in the next week."
Update, 5:50PM: Bumped up for importance. This weekend, please take time to consider how you might get involved.