E-Net News

David Levine article on SOPA protests published by Forbes

Elon Law Professor David Levine's article, "Web Darknesss, The Day After: Why the SOPA Protests Matter," was published January 19 by Forbes.

In the article Levine evaluates the importance of public protests made January 18 by Google, Wikipedia and other Internet companies against the U.S. House of Representatives’ Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and companion legislation in the Senate, the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). Wikipedia blocked access to its U.S. website, as did thousands of other websites, while Google and other sites conveyed objections to the legislation prominently on their homepages.

"The protesters crystallized, in a clear albeit temporary way, how the Internet would look if sites suddenly went dark based upon unchallenged allegations made without due process, as SOPA/PIPA would allow against foreign websites," Levine wrote. "Because the language in SOPA/PIPA is vague with regard to what we mean by inducement of and/or facilitating intellectual property infringement, the argument that the bills only target foreign websites is merely some legislative history that would be used by a domestic defendant website in litigation. Therefore, the protest also showed what could happen when vague language is written into law that would allow the Internet to be dismantled on a piecemeal basis, as SOPA/PIPA would allow generally."

In his article, Levine advocated for broader input on legislation that would regulate the Internet, to counter the influence of individual industry sectors in the process.

"Monolithic views of the Internet as serving one primary commercial interest threatens to undermine the Internet’s defining characteristic as an infrastructure capable of many uses, commercial, social and political," Levine wrote. "No single industry or activity can (or should be allowed to) define what the Internet is, or how it should be regulated."

Click here to read Levine's article in Forbes.

Click here for a report on Levine's December 19 co-authored article in the Stanford Law Review online detailing concerns about SOPA and PIPA.

Click here for a report on a July 6 letter to Congress that Levine co-authored, detailing objections to the legislation, and here for a November 16 letter to Congress on the subject also co-authored by Levine. Both letters were signed by more than 100 law scholars.

Levine has also been interviewed on the subject by national and regional news outlets. Click here for an article in Corporate Counsel featuring insights from Levine about the January 18 Internet blackouts. Click here for a WFMY News 2 interview with Levine examining the SOPA/PIPA legislation.


Philip Craft,
1/20/2012 1:57 PM