FOR

David Hughes, senior VP, technology, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)

Opportunity and investment in new businesses and products rely heavily on preventing rogue websites from undermining the legitimate marketplace.
SOPA opponents offer a list of horribles against the bill, including that domain name filtering will “break the internet.” The truth is that filtering is already used for spam, viruses, child porn and other purposes. Yet, these haven’t “broken the internet,” and neither will SOPA.

In addition, any obligatory action against accused sites by service providers requires a federal court order based on rigorous adherence to narrow definitions, procedural standards and due process. Hardly a recipe for abuse.

Of course, these thresholds also ensure freedom of expression, but we must remember that internet freedom does not include the license to violate the IP rights of others.

This is not content versus technology. There is a careful balance to find here, and while changes can and will be made, SOPA is an important and necessary step in ensuring a safe, legitimate and bright internet future.

AGAINST

Stewart Baker, partner, Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Internet security is bad and getting worse. Fake websites cost users millions. Unfortunately, SOPA would only exacerbate the problem, killing or delaying our best hope for weeding out fake websites and other scams.

That hope is DNSSEC, a set of protocols that locks website names to their internet addresses with cryptographically strong credentials. It’s an important security advance, but it can only succeed if many players agree to modify their equipment and software – even though they may get no immediate benefits from the increased security.

That’s the tragedy of the commons, and SOPA would make it worse – by requiring precisely the behavior DNSSEC is designed to stop. Switching users away from the website they requested and delivering them to a different site is what cybercriminals do today.

By blowing a legal hole in the effort to stop such switches, SOPA will set DNSSEC back for years and perhaps forever. Worse, SOPA is offering a phony fix. Fans of pirate sites will have no trouble finding ways to circumvent. SOPA, leaving us stuck with an ineffective law. 
There’s no point in giving up internet security for the sake of antipiracy theater.