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Is Your Site Liable for Copyright Infringement?

29 November 2011 80 Comments

Blogger Behind Bars for Copyright InfringementThere is a new bill in Congress called the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that would rock the Internet – and not in a good way.

The initial intent of the bill sounds okay…stop illegal sharing of music, movies and games. Unfortunately it could also stop the sharing of content on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Below is a synopsis of the effects of SOPA, shared from WorkOnTheSofa.com, for which I could be sued for copyright infringement if SOPA passes:

Simply put, SOPA makes websites liable for copyright infringement that occurs among its users. Since the very foundation of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit relies on the free sharing of content, they are among the most vulnerable sites to legal action. Legal experts are anticipating industry-wide changes by these companies that restrict, monitor, or otherwise control the type of content sharing that is allowed on their platforms. Taking away sharing features may be a voluntary choice, or being blocked by the government may be a forced punishment. Either way, you may have to say goodbye to your tried-and-true strategies for linkbuilding and organic traffic.

If you have a site that is open to content sharing, and you most likely do, then you face even more serious issues. Have a blog or any other means for people to post comments or links to your site? This could get you into trouble. If someone illegally shares content or even posts a link to a site that enables illegal sharing, you could be held liable under SOPA. Prepare to have your domain blocked from users or even be faced with a lawsuit.

I encourage you to visit the site to learn more about what this bill entails, and contact your state Representative to protest the passage of it.