The Stop Online Piracy Act is currently before the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, and hearing will begin this week. The online advertising industry is closing watching this act, because if it is passed it will require pretty much everyone from search engines, payment processors and even advertising networks to stop doing business with anyone involved in copyright issues. The law is being heavily backed by the MPAA in order to help try to stop the continued spread of movies online, and has a bunch of opposition from the likes of Google, Facebook, Zynga and the such.
That panel’s chairman, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), sponsored the bill, which would give industry and government more tools to pursue and potentially shut down websites belived to be trading in pirated content, including TV shows and movies.
The problem with the act is simple: it will basically prevent any company from doing any business with anyone that might be infringing on a copyright. That means that CPA and affiliate networks will now need to heavily police their networks to prevent their advertising from accidentally showing up on a site that is infringing on someone’s copyright.
What does that mean? If you are doing business with anyone that might be violating the intellectual property of anyone’s copyright, you could be sued by the owners even if you don’t have knowledge of the problem. ISPs, advertising networks and even Google will probably start blacklisting sites and companies that are even accused of copyright infringement, just because of the threat of being sued, even if there is no proof or judicial order.
If you are an affiliate and get accused of someone infringing on someone’s copyright, even if your attorney said it was fair use and you’d eventually win a court battle, you might have 6 months of no internet access, no payments through paypal, and have your CPA Network being told they are not allowed to send you money.