Why SharePoint Professionals Should Oppose SOPA and PIPA

I know there are many readers of this blog that live outside of the United States, but please bear with me as I address two bills before the U.S. Congress that will have global impact.

Instead of addressing the actual bills and the general impact they would have on the internet (you can find information in various other places), I want to look at this issue from the prospective of a technology professional who implements, uses, and blogs about Microsoft technology, including SharePoint.

Imagine a scenario where Microsoft (or any other software company) releases a software product that I then begin to implement. But, as I start to use the product, I find flaws or bugs (some like to call them “features”) in the software that I want to blog about. I want others who run into the same issues to know they are not alone and possibly have a fix.

This scenario happens hundreds (if not thousands) of times a day in this country. However, if companies have the right given to them to sue anyone that they feel is infringing on their product, any technology blogger’s site can be brought down. This is how it could work: you blog about a flaw and the software provider decides they don’t like your post. Well, you used screenshots of their product and gave detailed descriptions of how their product worked, so you have used their intellectual property (supposedly). But wait, I am a blogger, so I am a member of the press and protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Not you are not.

So, you are being sued (along with your ISP and website hosting provider). Can you afford to pay an attorney to fight a large software company? What about your ISP or your website host? What if your website is being hosted by the same software company that is now suing you? Exactly, your site goes away. Oh, and don’t even think about transferring your website outside of this country to protect it, they want to block DNS requests if an IP owner feels the site has infringing content(some DNS provisions in SOPA have been taken out….for now.)

This is why any of us who work in technology every day and give helpful advice (I hope this site is helpful!) should stand up and contact our representatives in Congress and tell them SOPA and PIPA are bad for all of us!