Empire Avenue Does Not Support SOPA or PIPA

Empire Avenue does not support the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) or Protect IP Act (PIPA) bills currently before the US House and Senate. Although Empire Avenue is a Canadian company, we believe strongly that we do need to speak up about our thoughts on SOPA and PIPA and why we at Empire Avenue are strongly opposed to these bills. Regardless of whether the bills are shelved we wanted to lend our voice to the fact that the existing bills are flawed.

Many of you may have heard of SOPA and PIPA, but if you haven’t, let us give you a quick rundown on what it is and some links to go find out more (below). In short, SOPA and PIPA will potentially give authorities the right to take sites down or block access to such sites with little recourse should there be a complaint that any content is an infringement of piracy or copyright laws. As many in the web world have pointed out, from Google, Facebook, Twitter to even small sites, this would set a precedent for sites such that the burden of policing content would be on the sites, with the sites having to fight for their right to stay online. In addition, the laws would effectively give the authorities the ability to create a giant firewall around the USA which would prevent US citizens from accessing services like Empire Avenue.

Before delving further into SOPA and PIPA let me say that Empire Avenue does not support the posting of copyrighted material or the allowance of software piracy on the web. We do, however, strongly believe that the current proposed SOPA and PIPA bills are not the way to effectively combat piracy while protecting the rights and freedoms of the Internet. As a site we are unable to police every piece of content, post, status update, etc. We use many algorithms, checks and user-based reporting to attempt detection of copyright infringement and piracy and act swiftly when we do find such violations. This law would make allowing you to post content a liability for sites such as ourselves and would change the way the entire Web operates and how social media is used. Many commentators have pointed out that if SOPA and PIPA had been enacted earlier they would have made services like YouTube and Twitter unpalatable and certainly unfundable from an investment perspective. This would halt innovation on the Internet.

From a Canadian standpoint, while we would not be under SOPA or PIPA, the majority of our users come from the Unites States, and we may well be subjected to any such legislation. Many of our users have strongly condemned SOPA and PIPA and indeed, we worry about their ability to access the great internet resources that exist beyond the borders of the United States. We do not believe any such law would be of benefit to our friends in the United States, nor the rest of the world.

You may then ask why we chose not to participate in a black-out of Empire Avenue like Reddit and other major online destinations. Many of our users from around the world use Empire Avenue as a conduit for their business and to carry on their livelihood. We chose not to limit or block our users in this case. Instead, we will make visible changes to the site landing page and other areas of the site in solidarity with the movement against SOPA and PIPA. While the SOPA and PIPA bills will likely be shelved due to the protest and backlash, we want to make sure that our voice is heard by the Canadian government and by other governments: while we support fighting piracy and copyright infringement on the Internet, laws like SOPA and PIPA are definitely not the way.

Dups, on behalf of The Empire Avenue Staff


Further Reading:

22 Comments

  1. “we want to make sure that our voice is heard by the Canadian government and by other governments: while we support fighting piracy and copyright infringement on the Internet, laws like SOPA and PIPA are definitely not the way”

    >> definitely not the way 😀

  2. Pingback: SOPA and PIPA, Danger Will Robinson « Empirical Leanings

  3. Pingback: Empire Avenue: Politisches Statement direkt auf der Startseite der Plattform | Leander Wattig

  4. Dups, you mentioned that as a Canadian company, you wouldn’t be under SOPA or PIPA. It should be considered that if such laws were passed in the USA, it wouldn’t be very long before similar laws were passed here in Canada. While Canadians wouldn’t be immediately affected by those laws, helping to keep them from being passed in the USA is the only way to ensure *we* don’t get screwed over as well.

  5. Thanks for supporting the movement to attempt to block this ludicrous legislation. As a fellow Canadian I applaud your efforts. I know it’s a difficult decision how to reach because of the inconvenience that shutting down a web site would mean. Personally I did take my business web offline – but to each their own. I’m just happy to see that the support for making our collective ire know is as widespread as possible.

  6. Hy Dups, congratulations for your article and your clever positioning about the subject.
    I translated your article into portuguese keeping al links to the original and published it at

    http://retejo.blogspot.com/2012/01/o-direito-censura-da-web-nos-estados.html

    Please check it out and inform me via my e-mail, jorgepurgly@gmail.com (e)PURGLY, if you would like to have any changes on the text. Exemple starts with us. Be what you want from the world.

    All the best,
    Jorge Purgly

  7. Thank you for making this post and I appreciate you putting it in layman’s terms for people like me to understand it! I’d seen the online protests, but I was actually clueless as to what it was all about until reading your post, thanks.

    I agree with your stance of not having Empire Network as part of the blackout! I hope these bills don’t pass either!

  8. Good stand on the issue. The firewall scenario is a possibility and like all services that the US citizens pay for, the internet also is bound to become a paid service for them affecting global business and communication
    There are other countries who will pass similar bills and then more sites and articles will be restricted and i am sure we all will not be on the same page from then on

  9. Thanks Dups for your support also. To those obvious few who are actually for the bills to pass, I urge you to please read more before posting. EA has already stated that they do NOT support online piracy and copyright infringement. Better yet, it’s not the idea of the bills that Major Corporations like Google, Wikipedia and others are against, it’s they way in which the bills go about it. The current way is to allow for Due Process of the Laws in which violations would still be processed through the courts. These new Bills takes away Due Process rights for Everybody! Let me repeat that… Everybody! Even those in favor of these bills to pass will in some way or another be affected, and if you own a website that suddenly gets shut down over something you were not aware of, then maybe you would understand. The bills give the government just such power. Nowhere in History has it proved to benefit it’s people when the government has this much power in order to bypass Due process of the law.

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