If SOPA (or the similar PROTECT IP Act [PIPA]) were to go into effect, making individual websites liable for each and every posted link, there could be a potential for corruption. What may seem right and sensible today can become a throbbing sore a just few years down the road. Individuals in power could punish websites which displease them.
The full text of the SOPA Act is available online
Does it seem there is undue concern; do these bills amount to censorship? There are views from both sides of the issue. Among tech companies who foresee and oppose this considerable interference is trade association NetCoalition. Executive director Markham Erickson told FOXNews he considers this potential censorship a result of special interest legislation. He says these bills would, “Fundamentally change the way the internet works.”
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WS) was most outspoken:
The internet is one of the most magnificent expressions of freedom and free enterprise in history. It should stay that way. While H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act attempts to address a legitimate problem, I believe it creates the precedent and possibility for undue regulation, censorship and legal abuse. I do not support H.R. 3261 in its current form and will oppose the legislation should it come before the full House.
Liberals, conservatives, and Libertarians are joining forces to address this “assault on free speech.” Red Mass Group, a conservative website, Blue Mass, a liberal website, and the Heritage Foundation, as well as Beregrond, a Libertarian stronghold, all oppose what they view as a potentially damaging move: "By criminalizing links, what these bills do is they force you to take content off the Internet," a spokesman said, calling it a form of censorship.”
In an alternative view, The New York Times suggests we need to examine the motivation of “big internet guys” that oppose SOPA.
Google made huge profits by directing consumers to illegal foreign Web sites, so its opposition is self-serving. In fact, Google recently paid half a billion dollars to settle a criminal investigation because of its promotion of foreign pharmacies that sold counterfeit and illegal drugs to American patients, possibly endangering their health
The White House is expected to oppose the bill as it is written, should it pass Congress.