How far do you go and who should do it?

Two bills now pending in Congress—the PROTECT IP Act of 2011 (Protect IP) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House—represent the latest legislative attempts to address a serious global problem: large-scale online copyright and trademark infringement. Although the bills differ in certain respects, they share an underlying approach and an enforcement philosophy that pose grave constitutional problems and that could have potentially disastrous consequences for the stability and security of the Internet’s addressing system, for the principle of interconnectivity that has helped drive the Internet’s extraordinary growth, and for free expression.

Mark Lemley, David S. Levine, & David G. Post say Don’t Break the Internet at Stanford Law Review.

Like the bans on driver distractions, this is another of those efforts to use the power of government to force desired behavior. The effort has massive ‘unintended consequences’ that these sorts of things often do.

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