Look. This SOPA/PIPA thing.
Copyright infringement is already illegal (criminally) and actionable (civilly). SOPA/PIPA is just an attempt by the big media companies to offload their enforcement costs on you and me. Rather than doing their own damn work chasing down copyright violators, they want to keep everyone off sites that *might* be used for unauthorized copying.
SOPA/PIPA is kind of like making it illegal to buy blank T-shirts because you might put someone else’s trademarked or copyrighted image on them. Which is awesome if you’re the one with a “famous” image or brand, but sucks if you just want to publicize your mom-and-pop business or your kid’s band.
So since when is it your job and my job to make sure Disney and Comcast’s copyrights can’t possibly be infringed upon? Why the hell isn’t it their job?
The inevitable war story, because I do that:
I used to do programming work for an industrial/grunge record label. (Brush with fame: I knew Marilyn Manson’s accountant.) They actually had lawyers dedicated to suing bootleg T-shirt vendors at concert venues. It was an expensive pain in the ass, but they figured it was a cost of doing business and protecting the brand.
It wasn’t perfect, because you can’t catch and sue everyone, but it worked well enough and the label was quite profitable.
It’s not good enough for Disney though. They think their right to guaranteed profit trumps your right to run a web server. That’s the issue.