Suburban Bloggers Worry about Piracy Legislation

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Byline: Jamie Sotonoff jsotonoff@dailyherald.com

Suburban bloggers are keeping a close eye on the evolving legislation aimed at cracking down on online piracy, fearing it could shut down their websites or threaten their businesses.

The proposed Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act bills created a virtual uproar Wednesday, with protests that included popular websites like Google and Wikipedia doing "blackouts."

Many local bloggers joined the rally cry, sounding off on social media sites and offering support on anti-SOPA/PIPA websites.

Maria Tiongco Ramos, of Aurora, who runs ASavingsWow.com, blacked out her website in protest Wednesday, replacing her page of money-saving deals with information on SOPA/PIPA.

"There does need to be some kind of legislation so the true fraud that's going on can be taken care of ... I just don't know if this is the way to do it," she said. "The problem is, they're trying to lump so many different categories (of website) into one bill."

Attorney and Chicago-Kent College of Law professor Ed Lee agrees but doubts the proposed legislation would affect the typical suburban blogger.

"The question is, how do you craft a piece of legislation that protects legitimate users and legitimate websites?" he said.

The idea behind SOPA/PIPA is to help protect artists, innovators and industries from copyright thieves and shield consumers from fake, faulty and unsafe products sold online. Creative America, a coalition of Hollywood studios, networks and unions, says content theft costs U.S. workers $5.5 billion a year.

The bills would allow the Justice Departmentand copyright holders to seek court orders against foreign websites accused of copyright infringement.

While there is little the U.S. can do to take down those websites, the bills would bar online advertising networks and payment facilitators such as credit card companies and PayPal from doing business with an alleged violator. …