Does anyone in the US remember this thing called the Constitution? Jimmy Wales does, and I applaud Wikipedia's planned 24 hour shutdown in protest of SOPA and PIPA.
A Motion Picture Association of America executive dubbed the blackout plan an example of the "gimmicks and distortion" that inflamed passions while failing to solve the problem of copyright infringement.Don't you hate those inflamed passions against the loss of civil liberties?
Here's the thing about the rule of law: it has to apply to everyone all the time. Same thing with free speech. Otherwise you are living in a banana republic, which is where the US is rapidly headed.
SOPA and PIPA would continue the grave inroads into civil liberties that had its roots in the War on Drugs and was greatly accelerated by the War on Terror--especially with the Patriot Act. These acts would allow any website to be shut down by the entertainment industry, placing the burden of proof on the website. Guilty until proven innocent.
Freedom is all fine and dandy, but it really must take a backseat to more important things like people smoking pot, the threat of terrorism or the awful specter of someone posting the lyrics to a Britney Spears song.
As Ronald Bailey points out, this would grant powers eerily similar to what Putin likes to employ against those who disagree with him, or whose assets he likes to seize for one of his cronies.
Thanks Wikipedia and Reddit. And screw you Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and all the rest who complained about SOPA but weren't willing to act on principle. Thoreau is flipping you off from the grave.
Soren Bowie at Cracked has a humorous take on SOPA here.
Julian Sanchez at Cato Institute discusses SOPA here.
Addendum: the CEO of Twitter twitters "that's just silly. Closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish."
SOPA would give the government (at the behest of alleged infringees) the right to shut down ANY website in the world, presumably because the US controls the DNS (Domain Name Service) of the major top level domains such as .com .org etc. I don't think country level domains (.cz .fr .uk etc) are controlled by ICANN but I'm not sure and am too lazy to research it. The point is, this IS a world political issue, Dick (yes that's his name).
Second Addendum: Google is adding a link to their homepage in a munificent show of solidarity--yes I'm being sarcastic.
Third Addendum: head of MPAA calls protests an abuse of power.