Although I did have a brief and not-so-glorious career with a big IT firm, I probably don’t qualify as an expert on the exact consequences of the new intellectual property bill–called either SOPA or PROTECT IP--that’s currently moving through Congress.
That said, I do think it’s important not so much for what it would do–many of the opponents are probably overheated in their claims about it–but for what it says about Congress.
In a time of record unemployment, economic stagnation, significant global challenges, and a hugely consequential election, SOPA/PROTECT IP seems like one of the few major measures with significant bipartisan support. Whatever one thinks of the bill (and, personally, I think it’s a bad idea), I don’t think that anyone can really argue that software piracy is among the top ten issues–or even top fifty–things that Congress ought to be worrying about. The fact that Congress is obsessed with this shows, quite simply, that it’s not working.