SOPA is the End of Us Say Bloggers: TwoPlusTwo.com Could be Wiped Off the Web

Written by:
Alejandro Botticelli
Published on:
Dec/28/2011
SOPA

Politico had an interesting read Wednesday morning on how bloggers believe SOPA will ultimately kill their business, not to mention those around them.  As Gambling911.com has been reporting, there is something truly ominous about this particular ACT and its far reaching consequences. 

SOPA or Stop Online Piracy Act gives the US Government and businesses more tools in their arsenal to go after counterfeiting websites, including the seizure of associated domain names.  That, in and of itself, sounds a little bit dangerous on the “freedoms” front. 

SOPA goes further to require search engines to remove such offending website domains from its listings while preventing firms like PayPal from conducting business with alleged counterfeiters.  Meanwhile, streaming video sites like YouTube and companies that could potentially be accused of selling counterfeit items without their knowledge such as eBay stand to get caught up in the crossfire. 

If ever there was ever a reason for bloggers and website operators to be concerned, think online gambling.  The US Government over the past year has gone on a crusade seizing over a dozen industry websites, all of which were legal and licensed in their respective jurisdictions, including British Commonwealths.  Some of these companies – PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker – were widely marketed across ESPN, paying millions of dollars to be there.  The feds even set up their own phony payment processing sting operation (calling itself Linwood Payment Solutions) over a two year period in order to seize millions of dollars in funds. 

Entrapment?

One company caught up in the sting actually stopped doing business with the fake company after about two weeks.  This online gambling company did not feel comfortable engaging in electronic funds transfers and expressed this to the fake payment solutions operation.  Linwood did everything in its power to try and keep its newfound “customer”.  Eventually the Feds just seized the online gambling firm’s domain name along with a bunch of its associated domain names, most of which had never engaged in business with Linwood. 

Here, we had an online gambling company saying "we don't want to break the law" and they were basically encouraged to do just that. 

With SOPA, things stand to get completely out of control.

Politico noted that some bloggers have asserted that the controversial measures would criminalize pages and blogs that link to foreign websites dedicated to online piracy.  Google could actually find itself among the most liable.   And websites like TwoPlusTwo.com, the biggest forum community for poker enthusiasts, could also find itself wiped off the Web, even if they elect not to take advertisements from offshore gambling companies.  Simple links, promos and “how to” information may be deemed as criminal under SOFA. 

“Of course, restrictions of results provided by Internet search engines amount to just that: prior restraint of their free expression of future results. Google and others, under SOPA, are told what they can or can’t publish before they publish it. Kill. The. Bill,” conservative blogger Neil Stevens argued at RedState.

Last week, growing opposition forced registrar GoDaddy.com to stop its support for SOPA, at least temporarily.  A massive boycott of GoDaddy was proposed with a potential public relations nightmare looming not too far behind.

Scores of law firms are requesting their names be removed from the Judiciary Committee’s official list of SOPA supporters, according to Politico. 

“The dynamic is clear. Once SOPA — and its Senate counterpart, Protecting IP Act, or PIPA — became high-profile among the Internet community, the lazy endorsements from companies and various hangers-on became toxic. And now, those supporters are scrambling, hollowing out the actual support for the bill. Suddenly, a bill with ‘widespread’ corporate support doesn’t have much support at all,” David Dayden wrote at Firedoglake.

- Alejandro Botticelli, Gambling911.com

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