Stephen Colbert rarely books two guests to (more or less) seriously debate hot topics, but that’s precisely how “The Colbert Report” tackled a particularly contentious geek topic late last week — the recently proposed Stop Online Piracy Act.
Proponents say SOPA will help protect American intellectual property by providing legal tools to combat mostly foreign “rogue sites” that sell counterfeit or stolen property back to American consumers. Opponents say that by allowing shutdown of sites that post such material, the law would do too much collateral damage to independent artists, free social media expression and the pace of innovation.
Is the criticism “greatly exaggerated?” Some have argued as much, and passionately. Others — including many in the Internet industry — are closer to siding with BoingBoing’s Cory Doctorow, who called SOPA the “worst proposed Internet law in American history.”
Watch the clip for the Colbert back and forth between music manager Danny Goldberg and Harvard law professor Jonathan Zittrain (here’s an accompanying, more oppositional clip from elsewhere in the show). Check out CNET for a summary of the players and where they stand. Here’s the raw bill from the Library of Congress.
Where do you stand on SOPA?