Canadians Against SOPA

Canadians Against SOPAOpenMedia.ca is joining a growing number of people and popular websites in speaking out against an Internet censorship bill that has been tabled in the US, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

The Electronic Frontier describes it well:

As drafted, the legislation would grant the government and private parties unprecedented power to interfere with the Internet's underlying infrastructure. The government would be able to force ISPs and search engines to block users' attempts to reach certain websites' URLs... It gets worse: the blacklist bills' provisions would give corporations and other private parties new powers to censor foreign websites with court orders that would cut off payment processors and advertisers.

Those foreign websites include those found in Canada. Internet law expert Michael Geist notes that “Canadian businesses and websites could easily find themselves targeted by SOPA.” As Canadian Internet users and online innovators, we have a lot to lose if SOPA is passed. SOPA could fundamentally reshape the Internet in the U.S., Canada, and the rest of the world.

Join millions of people around the world in speaking out against SOPA. Tell Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Gary Doer (Canada’s Ambassador to the U.S.) that Canadians are against SOPA.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What exactly is SOPA?
  2. SOPA is a U.S. bill that is designed to block websites based offshore that peddle illegal content. Pro-Internet groups argue that it would give the American government and private corporations so much control over that the very nature of the web would be threatened.

    SOPA would allow a judge to order any Internet service provider to block a website and any links to it, including links from websites like Google, Wikipedia, or Reddit. It would effectively give the US government and private corporations the power to cripple sites that allegedly—but not conclusively—make unlicensed use of copyrighted content.

  3. How does this affect Canada?
  4. SOPA treats all IP addresses in Canada as domestic for U.S. law purposes. This means that many Canadian websites would be subject to being blocked by American authorities.

    Additionally, Canada’s government has been attempting to coordinate Canada’s copyright laws with internationally recognized norms. SOPA would skew those norms in the direction of a closed, rather than open, Internet.

    University of Ottawa professor Micheal Geist explains the effects on Canada in more detail here.

  5. Isn’t SOPA dead?
  6. According to some reports, the bill has been put on hold indefinitely. This move could, however, be a delaying tactic—there has been no guarantee that the bill has been entirely shelved. Additionally, the Senate version of the bill, PIPA, is still set to be passed. As a result, many of those planning to stage Web "blackouts" in protest of the legislation,including Wikipedia, are continuing with their efforts.

  7. This is mainly an American issue. What U.S. groups are fighting SOPA?
  8. There are a ton. Some of the most prolific include the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), FreePress, Public Knowledge, Avaaz, and Demand Progress. In addition to these groups, hundreds of start-ups, social media sites like Tumblr, Reddit, and Twitter, and even companies like Google, Yahoo!, Amazon, and eBay have