SOPA and PIPA - Fact sheet for Australian Internet Users

Natalie Ho, Chris Connolly and David Vaile *


The Stop Anti-Piracy Act - ‘SOPA’ 1

Background. 1

The SOPA Bill 2

The Protect IP Act – ‘PIPA’ 3

Background. 3

Differences between the SOPA and PIPA bills. 3

Responses to SOPA/ PIPA. 4

Impact of SOPA and PIPA on Australian consumers and businesses. 5

SOPA and PIPA are acronyms that generated intense global interest in late 2011 and early 2012.[1]  We offer material below to assist readers to locate original documents and help understand the recent history of these proposed US laws.

The Stop Anti-Piracy Act - ‘SOPA’


The SOPA Bill

The Protect IP Act – ‘PIPA’


Differences between the SOPA and PIPA bills

PIPA and SOPA are both online anti-piracy bills, similar in approach but with key differences in certain provisions:

Responses to SOPA/ PIPA

The bills were supported by the US movie and music industries, Chamber of Commerce, and parts of other US creator and rights-holding sectors, but triggered controversy especially among online businesses, users and technical communities.[16] Issues raised in opposition include:

Forbes magazine carried an analysis of the impact of these objections, the involvement of major leading technology companies including Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Ebay[20] and online community sites like Reddit, Tumblr, Mozilla, Wikipedia, Facebook and Twitter, the central role of ‘engineers’, and the process by which they undermined support for the Bills.[21]

Impact of SOPA and PIPA on Australian consumers and businesses

SOPA and PIPA are intended to target ‘rogue’ websites, but collateral damage may arise and potentially affect legitimate sites due to the broad scope of the bills, and provisions which could in some situations shield misuse from legal consequences.

* Researchers and intern at Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre, UNSW Law Faculty, Sydney Australia.  3 February 2012. or PDF

[1] Eg discussion of potential impact on the underlying principle of interconnectivity in Mark Lemley, David Levine and David Post, ‘Don't Break the Internet,’ Stanford Law Review Online, Vol. 64, p.34, December 2011, posted January 3, 2012. Available at SSRN:

[2] Brian Barret, ‘What is SOPA,’ Gizmodo, 18 January 2012, at:

[3] Dominic Rushe, ‘Sopa plans set to be shelved as Obama comes out against piracy legislation,’ The Guardian, 16 January 2012, at:

[4] See Administration’s response by Victoria Espinel, Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator at Office of Management and Budget, Aneesh Chopra, U.S. Chief Technology Officer, and Howard Schmidt, Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator for National Security Staff, ‘Combating Online Piracy while Protecting an Open and Innovative Internet: Official White House Response to Stop the E-PARASITE Act and 1 other petition’, We The People [online petitioning service on], undated (14 January 2012?) at:

[5] Senate 158 Congressional Record S23 (2012), 23 January 2012, via Hein Online.

[6] Committee on the Judiciary, ‘Stop Online Piracy Act Markup to Resume in February,’ Media Release, US House of Representatives, 17 January 2012, at:

[7] International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, Digital Music Report 2012, January  2012, At: [13Mb download]. See ArsTechnica summary at:

[8] Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act, at:

[9] SBS, ‘Factbox: The 'Stop Online Piracy Act' explained,’ SBS online, 17 January 2012, at:

[10] Grant Gross/IDG News, ‘The US Stop Online Piracy Act: A Primer,’ PC World, 17 November 2011, at: the_us_stop_online_piracy_act_a_primer.html

[11] Jonathan Zittrain, Kendra Albert and Alicia Solow-Niederman, ‘A Close Look at SOPA’, The future of the Internet and how to stop it blog, 2 December 2011, at:

[12] See sources in Wikipedia, ‘The Protect IP Act’, at: as at 31 January 2012.

[13] S. 3804: Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, Govtrack.US (Civic impulse),

[14] Andrew Couts, ‘SOPA vs. PIPA: Anti-piracy bills, uproar explained,’ Digital Trends, 16 January 2012, at: 

[15] Jared Newman, ‘SOPA and PIPA: Just the Facts,’ PC World, at:

[16] See for instance Fight for the Future’s SOPA Strike page, at: Also Chris Heald, ‘Why SOPA is dangerous,’ Mashable, at:, and Washington’s blog, ‘Copyright Lawyers Oppose SOPA … And Say It Won’t Even Work’, Global Research, 18 January 2012, at:

[17] SBS, ‘Factbox: The 'Stop Online Piracy Act' explained,’ above.

[18] Amy Schatz, ‘What Is SOPA Anyway? A Guide to Understanding the Online Piracy Bill,’ Wall Street Journal, 18 January 2012, at:

[19] Parker Higgins and P Eckersley, ‘An Open Letter From Internet Engineers to the U.S. Congress,’ Electronic Frontier Foundation site, 15 December 2011, at: Internet Society, ‘Internet Society Perspectives on Domain Name System (DNS) Filtering,’ at: Leslie Daigle, ISOC CTO, ‘Beyond SOPA: Why 'Easy' Solutions Don't Stop Net Crime,’, 18 January 2012, at:

[20] AOL Inc., eBay Inc., Facebook Inc., Google Inc., LinkedIn Corporation, Mozilla Corp., Twitter, Inc., Yahoo! Inc., Zynga Game Network, letter to chairs and ranking members of Senate’s and House of Representative’s Committees on the Judiciary, 15 November 2011, at:

[21] Larry Downes, ‘Who Really Stopped SOPA, and Why?,’, 25 January 2012, at:

[22]  John McTigue, ‘The Potential Impact of SOPA and PIPA on Content Marketing,’ Kunocreative, 18 January 2012,at:

[23] Alexa, Top Sites page for Australia, at:

[24] David Ramli, ‘Murdoch rant an early taste of campaign,’ Australian Financial Review, 16 January 2012, at:
(subscription may be required).

[25] Ramli, above. A-US FTA is at:, or as [2005] ATS 1 at:

[26] Suzanne Tindal and Stilgherrian, ‘No SOPA for Australia: AG,’  ZDnet, 20 January 2012, at:

[27] Nate Cochrane, ‘Long arm of US piracy law will reach further than you think,’ SMH, 19 January 2012, at:

[28] Morgan (site owner), ‘How SOPA Affects Mompreneurs-IMPORTANT!,’ Business and Moms, 18 January 2012, at: