US SOPA Internet Law Will Affect Canada Too

Do you or your company own a .com website? If so then according to a proposed US law it could be taken down for infringement of US copyright law.

You may have noticed that many webistes yesterday went dark; Google, Tucows, Wikipedia, for instance. This was a protest against this proposed legislation know as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), or House Bill 3261.

The concern for Canadians is that the SOPA bill is written so any website domain name registered in the United States is treated as if it were a U.S. page. That means if your website ends in .com, .net or .org you could be accused of breaching copyright and your website could be blocked by a U.S. court.

The Montreal Gazette has an interesting example:

In the U.S., copyright extends 70 years after the death of an author. However in Canada, that period is only 50 years. This means the works of Ernest Hemingway’s could legitimately appear on a Canadian website.

Under SOPA, if a Canadian website were to post the works of Hemingway now, that website could be found by a U.S. court to be breaching U.S. copyright and be shut down, even though it is entirely legal in Canada.

This bill is scheduled for a vote on January 24th.

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About the Author

Guy is owner of Trusted Technology Inc, a Canadian based company. With 20+ years experience Guy provides managed IT support services to small businesses and non profits across Canada.

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