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Key Economic Indicators
Item Rate
CPI: 0.1% (Jul 2017) 
GDP Growth: 3% (2nd Qtr 2017)
Bank Prime Interest Rate: 4.25%
Consumer Confidence: 122.9% (Aug 2017)
Small Biz Confidence: 105.2% (Jul 2017)
Avg Gas Price: $2.66










26 January 2012


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Is SOPA Bad for Your Small Business

SOPA was introduced in the House by Representative Lamar Smith (TX) on 18 January 2011, in the House Judiciary Committee.  It was co-sponsored by 31 Representatives, 8 of whom who later withdrew their co-sponsorship in January 2012.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was introduced in the house and Protect IP Act (PIPA) was initiated in the Senate.  The aim of these acts was to stop original content from being illegally duplicated and shared over the Internet without the consent of the owner.  It was particularly aimed at overseas companies with business links in the U.S.

Companies found in violation (especially repeated offenders) could be punished with 1-20 years in prison and received up to $20,000,000 in fines.

The Act targets Service Providers, Search Engines and Advertisers for enforcement.  It requires these entities to enforce court orders to shut down offshore sites that are using their services within 5 days of receiving such orders. 

We’ve seen major sites such as Wikipedia, and Google joined with many other sites to launch a protest against this bill.  So, why the uproar?  Even though this law was aimed at overseas companies the real targeted was any company or individual that engages in the illegal copyright of original content.  When you consider what could be covered under this umbrella it is easy to see how it could negatively impact the Internet and businesses big and small.

Consider sites like Youtube and Facebook where people upload and share music videos that they’ve created using someone else’s lyrics.  This would be considered illegal and a target of the act.  Legitimate businesses that use a company’s information to offer commentary on the company could be targeted as well.  Companies receiving the criticism they don’t considered to be favorable can use SOPA to go after their critics. 

Let’s say you have a party at your place and you made a video of it and shared it on the web.  One of the members in attendance who got picked up on the video complains that you didn’t get her permission to show the video, and invokes SOPA.  Now you’re in trouble with the law.

Like many good laws that started with good intentions and aimed at a particular segment, SOPA could be used to do more harm than good.  In the long run it is the little guys, who is least aware of the law and can least afford to defend against it, who will suffer the most. 

The good news is that this bill appears to be stopped by the very people who brought it to life.  On 20 January 2012 the House and Senate delayed action on the bill.

Thomas Register
Cornell Law

By Owen Daniels










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