How SOPA Works

SOPA Supporters and Those Opposed

It should come as no surprise that two of the most outspoken supporters of SOPA are the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). These two enormous organizations represent two powerful and lucrative industries. They have a vested interest in stamping out piracy.

Another important supporter of SOPA is the United States Chamber of Commerce. Although the organization sounds like an official public department, it's not part of the government. Instead, it's a lobbying group that represents the interests of businesses and trade associations. The Chamber of Commerce is well funded and highly influential in the political arena.

The pharmaceutical industry is also behind SOPA. The act includes language that specifically targets sites that offer counterfeit drugs or "inherently dangerous goods or services." The act doesn't designate who determines whether or not goods or services are inherently dangerous.

One company that drew a lot of attention for its support of SOPA was Go Daddy, a Web hosting site. A post from Go Daddy caught the attention of bloggers and Twitter users in late December 2011. Within hours, "boycott Go Daddy" became a trending topic. The company later withdrew public support of the act, though there remained allegations that the company privately remained on the pro-SOPA side.

On the other end of the spectrum are companies like Google, Facebook, eBay and PayPal. These companies, many of which could be directly targeted under SOPA, have objected to the legislation. In addition to this gaggle of Internet companies are numerous tech experts who say that SOPA will cause more harm than good and that the legislation won't even stop piracy. Even Vinton Cerf, known as one of the fathers of the Internet, wrote a letter to Lamar Smith expressing his concerns about the proposed legislation.

What are the arguments against SOPA and could it really break the Internet?