Why SOPA Is Fucking Stupid

At its core, SOPA represents a universal, base desire of men to protect what they own. To some degree, it’s valid, something that anyone can respect. However, as with most things, ideas mean precisely shite, and execution is what really matters. In the case of SOPA, a misguided, poorly informed government is attempting to execute an idea in a way that could do the most damage possible. Let me count the ways SOPA is fucking stupid.

SOPA threatens free speech. This has been said by many folks who are much smarter than I. Any bill that allows the silencing of voices should not see the light of day. ‘Nuff said.

SOPA will starve and fracture an industry. A measure that could be taken against an “infringing” site is forcing advertising networks to stop serving ads for said site. For many sites, advertising is their meat and potatoes. An equally despicable measure is forcing payment services (can you say paypal?) to stop accepting transactions from the infringing site. Any site that relies on e-commerce is now proper fucked. Any service that provides a payment gateway or ad services is now unreliable. There will be a rift between providers that cooperate with SOPA, and those that don’t.

SOPA will break the one thing that makes the Internet accessible to humans, DNS. DNS is the system whereby domains names are translated to network addresses. Assigning IP addresses easy-to-remember names is one of the reasons the Internet has become a viable medium. As an extreme measure, SOPA will alter a site’s DNS records to point somewhere else. This last measure make is pretty clear the authors of these bills are complete dipshits.

While altering DNS will render the site inaccessible to most, it does not remove the existence or accessibility of content from the Internet. This very post is available here, whether DNS is up or not. To cope with a broken DNS system, the Internet will respond, and it will not be pleasant. Hardware vendors will ship with host files) set up to protect their own interests. Rogue DNS resolvers will pop up. The Internet will turn into Bartertown. Two browsers will enter, neither will find Facebook.

The internet industry and e-commerce have proved to be the country’s highest growth sectors in the past few years. One of the main contributors to that growth has been the availability of honest, reasonably reliable, interconnected services. They’ve given the classic humble entrepreneur + code monkey team the tools to build a business that yields riches. Compromise those tools, and you will destroy an industry, not to mention perhaps the last golden vestige of American opportunity. Creating a market-based system to punish violators will only destroy the system. To help combat SOPA, contact your local congressperson, or go here. To read the bill, click here.

Jan 12th, 2012