Is SOPA a Form of Censorship?

Internet companies are accusing a piracy bill of promoting censorship.

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Big names in the internet industry are heavily criticizing two bills recently introduced in Congress. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), now sitting in the House and the PROTECT-IP Act, introduced in the Senate, are both intended to protect copyrighted materials and limit online piracy. However Google, AOL, eBay, Facebook, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Zynga, and Twitter all came out against the bills in a letter to congressional leaders. The legislation would extend the authority of officials to require Internet providers and search engines to essentially erase websites suspected of copyright infringement from the World Wide Web. SOPA has the strong support of Hollywood and other large content producers whose revenues have suffered due to digital piracy.

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The letter asks that Congress consider more "targeted ways to combat foreign 'rogue' Web sites." Calling SOPA "draconian," Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt said, "There's a bill that would require (Internet service providers) to remove URLs from the Web, which is also known as censorship last time I checked.'' However, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle support SOPA and PROTECT-IP, and SOPA also has the backing of labor unions who argue that copyright protection will create jobs.

What do you think? Is SOPA a form of censorship? Take the poll and comment below.

This poll is now closed, but the debate continues in the comments section.

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Corrected 11/16/2011: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Sen. Amy Klobuchar as the sponsor of the Senate counterpart to the House bill known as SOPA. The Senate version of the bill, known as the PROTECT-IP Act, is sponsored by Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy.