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Protect Your Online Rights!

S. 968, the Protect IP Act of 2011, would take the already strict laws regarding intellectual property and copyright and make them more onerous by causing website owners to be careful about not just what they post, but also what they link to. The released draft of the legislation makes it effectively illegal to link to any website that is, or might be, accused of being “dedicated to infringing purposes.”

The language in the bill refers to “information location tool[s],” which, as defined, can mean any directory, index, reference, pointer or hypertext link. As content creators, we’d have to be fully aware of what and who we’re linking our website, tweet or status updating to, and worry that if any website we linked to is accused of being used for “infringing purposes,” we can be held liable, even if we haven’t posted or hosted the offending material ourselves. Even without reproducing the work, preparing derivative works, distributing the works, performing the works or displaying the work, other website owners can be held liable for just linking to the accused real offenders.

We’ve already seen clamp downs and seizures of websites without due process, and at least one case of the above. If passed, this legislation will have a chilling effect on the simple act of posting any link online. Write your Senator today and tell them to not support S. 968.