The Stop Online Piracy Act, H.R. 3261, introduced Oct. 26, has generated a firestorm of controversy, with critics assailing it for its chilling effect on the web and the internet. After deciding to investigate this bill, I waded through piles of critiques, both pro and con. The bill itself, written in 78 mind-numbing pages of dense legislatese, on an initial read-through doesn’t contain any “gotcha” terms that immediately support the conclusion of legislative overreach. The ostensible purpose of the bill is to combat the activities of alleged “rogue websites” based outside the U.S., which are engaged in widespread copyright infringement of entertainment content and the sale of counterfeit goods like prescription drugs.

Like many bills the language of the proposed law itself may seem relatively innocuous and reasonable, but the powers it grants to enforcement agencies and the concern that those agencies will abuse those powers fuel most of the criticism.

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