SOPA - we're against it. (Test Hats)

  • Posted by The Test Hats Team
  • 28 December 2011
  • Viewpoints

At Test Hats we commend and support efforts to curb the production and distribution of illegal or copyrighted material and protect intellectual property. As a nascent technology company we understand the critical value of copyrighted material and IP to individuals and businesses alike. We will never knowingly infringe others copyrights or their IP and if we do so, we welcome being advised of this and being given the opportunity to address it.

As such, Test Hats do not support SOPA or any similar legislation that tries to prevent copyright or IP infringement via unilateral control of the supporting technology or via censorship, and that acts without due respect for national sovereignty and the right of the accused to reasonable consultation or due legal process in addressing any allegations of infringement.

At Test Hats we’re passionate about all things Internet and Web, yes even to the point of making the distinction between the two. We believe that the Internet is one of the most powerful tools for freedom of thought, expression and the sharing of the amazing body of human knowledge. It acts as a tool that provides an unprecedented way to share information on a multitude of topics and debate them to refine our individual and collective view and understanding. It provides a way for those who are close to us and far away to communicate with each other, even where we have never met in person or where the governments of the countries we live in would prefer us not to communicate.

We believe the Internet is a technology like technologies such as writing, agriculture, transportation, medicine and others that have created a paradigm shift in human society. At the very least it can be considered in the same way as TV, radio, books, newspapers and letters, which have forever changed how we communicate. As such, no single organisation, government or other body should have the ability for unilateral control or censorship over the information it carries or the technology itself, across transnational boundaries and without the need for due legal process.

In our view, due to the central position US organisations play in managing the global internet, SOPA enables the US administration to wield unacceptable power that allows it unilateral control over a global technology. We make reference to the fact that this willingness to effect unilateral control has already been evidenced several times with existing US legislation, against non-US companies and citizens (1). We question the legitimacy of such power and argue that it is as unacceptable to the international community as would be such an act from another country that could similarly affect the US. Furthermore we see Protect IP and SOPA as dangerous precedents that are likely to be copied by others countries (2).

We agree with the European Parliament’s November 2011 Joint Motion that includes a statement on “the need to protect the integrity of the global internet and freedom of communication by refraining from unilateral measures to revoke IP addresses or domain names” (3).

We would direct you to groups who are active in calling attention to this legislation and the wider issues it encompasses and encourage you to get involved. These include Protect Innovation (4), Avaaz (5) and Mozilla (6). Use Twitter and search for the hashtag #sopa along with other social media such as Facebook (7).

You’re on the internet, you’re affected, so get involved.

The Test Hats Team.