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SOPA And PIPA: Bad News For SaaS or Hosted DAM?

by Naresh Sarwan on January 19, 2012

Most readers will have heard of the two US Internet anti-piracy bills, SOPA and PIPA, being considered by the US Congress and Senate respectively.  Rather less may fully understand the implications of them.  The DAM book website has an excellent introduction:

The bill seeks to let the government create a naughty list. If you are on the naughty list, or if you link to content hosted by someone on the naughty list, then your whole website can be shut down. The government will block the site by closing the series of tubes that make up the Internet.” [Read More]

The site has an infographic about the acts which is also useful.

One of the more worrying elements of the legislation is that a site can be added to the blocked list simply by linking to what is deemed pirated content (even before it has been assessed whether it actually is or not).  This has massive implications for on-line search engines and other content aggregators, including social media sites where policing user supplied content and links is an impractical challenge.  Closer to our own industry, this poses a potential problem for SaaS DAM vendors (or any vendor who hosts a DAM system on behalf of their customer at their own facility).   As explained in Peter Krogh’s article, the legislation uses DNS to blacklist sites.  For some SaaS implementations this could pose a considerable problem since one report (legitimate or otherwise) could potentially take the entire facility offline, including those customers who were nothing to do with the original report.

As with Clause 43 of the UK Digital Economy bill in 2010 (but from the opposite perspective) this is yet another example of poorly considered government copyright legislation and illustrates how badly informed legislators seem to be when it comes to anything relating to the Internet and online technologies in general.








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