SOPA and PROTECT-IP: A Line-By-Line Analysis of the Bills We Must Kill

January 17, 2012

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), AKA H.R. 3261, is an extremely polarizing proposal to change the way that U.S. copyright enforcement works on the web. The supposed goal of SOPA and its sister bill in the Senate, PROTECT IP, is to help protect U.S. copyrights from foreign trespass. Yet the bills could grant powers well beyond those goals to both copyright holders and to the U.S. government.

What follows are my observations after reading both SOPA and PROTECT IP, complete with sourcing and explanations. I make no claim that my observations are exhaustive, but they may be of use for those interested in citing specific problems with SOPA.

SOPA was the more difficult of the two bills to read, in part because of its length and repetitiveness. To a greater extent than PROTECT IP, it references a variety of outside statutes with which I am not familiar. SOPA also has quite a bit of pork in it — but more on that in a moment. Most importantly, the title is the only part of the bill that actually deals with the supposed intent of SOPA.

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