I’m sure you’ve heard by now that SOPA is bad and would ruin the Internet, but have you actually read the bill? If not, it’s worth reading, for two reasons. First, if you are going to oppose a bill, you should know exactly what you’re opposing, not just the vague principle behind it. Second, it’ll provide you with a valuable insight: that these bills are written in an attempt to obscure the truth.
First off, I’m going to qualify that I’m not a lawyer. However, I am a programmer, and that’s made me pretty good at unraveling spaghetti code. If ever a bill was spaghetti, this is it. If a programmer on my team wrote code as convoluted as this bill, I would fire him on the spot. That being said, there may be provisions I’m wrong about; if there are, please do correct me. My intent is to communicate the truth of this bill as cleanly as possible.
Here is the full text of the bill, as of Jan. 15, 2012. Open a copy, because I’ll be referring to it. It helps to click the “Printer Friendly” link to access a single-page view of the bill.