Stop US online Censorship before ACTA brings it to Europe!

Paris, November 16th, 2011 - In a letter sent to the United States House of Representatives, La Quadrature du Net joins leading civil society organisations from across the world to denounce the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) bill. SOPA aims to create global censorship of the Internet in the name of an obsolete copyright regime. If this dangerous piece of legislation were to pass in the US, it would become the global norm in the war on culture sharing, with the Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) as a vehicle. As the European Union starts debating the ratification of ACTA, citizens must mobilize to defend their freedoms by calling for the rejection of such ruthless online repression.

Defeat ACTA!In a letter sent to the Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States House of Representatives1, more than 40 civil society organizations criticize the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senate version, the Protect IP ACT (PIPA). Both bills aim to create a censorship scheme based on the seizures of domain names of allegedly copyright infringing websites, and would patently violate the right to a fair trial, with inevitable “collateral damage” on freedom of speech.

Upon notification by the entertainment industries, search engines as well as payment providers and advertisers would also be prevented from providing services or contracting with targeted websites, without any judicial decision2. As pointed out by law scholar Yochai Benkler3, SOPA and PIPA would amount to legalizing the type of censorship techniques used by the US against WikiLeaks, transposing into the civilian domain measures that used to be reserved to counter-terrorism4.

“Such broad and disproportionate censorship of the Net in the name of copyright enforcement is the direct consequence of the entertainment industry's global war against sharing on the Internet, with the OECD and the G8 increasingly relaying their demands5. As the European Commission and EU Member States push for ratification of ACTA to step up the war on sharing, it is clear that the provisions of SOPA and PIPA will soon be discussed in Europe if nothing is done to stop it. Indeed, ACTA's digital chapter aims to pressure Internet actors to 'cooperate' with rights holders and would be the perfect instrument for similar draconian measures6. Citizens must act and make their voice heard!”, said Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesperson for advocacy group La Quadrature du Net.