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What sort of legislation is currently in place?
The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DCMA) passed in 1998 currently offers protection to copyright holders.
How does the current legislation work?
Any copyright holder that suspects a website is using his or her content without permission may contact that site (like Youtube) and ask them to take it down. Those sites must take the content down right away. If it is determined, however, that the content is legitimate it can go back up.
Is the current system broken?
While this system works for legitimate sites like Youtube and List25, the SOPA sponsors are claiming that the bill will go after “rogue” sites that try to dodge US copyright law.
Do these “rogue” sites really cause that much of a problem?
According to Chris Dodd, the CEO of the MPAA, “We need to spread the message in the digital community and in the entertainment community that these activities (online piracy) hurt working Americans—and that we will not tolerate them.” Internet piracy costs US companies about $135 billion every year.
So, SOPA would be a boost to the economy?
Chris Dodd’s colleague, Cary Sherman, the CEO of the RIAA said, “this bill is a first step towards a brighter day when these rogue offshore websites can no longer duck accountability under U.S. laws, all the while providing a critical boost to the marketplace for legal digital music services.”