{audio}by David Amerland| Understanding SOPA and What You Should Do|HMS040112.mp3{/audio}

SOPA stands for Stop Online Piracy Act and the moment you get past the acronym which sounds like something which has to do with a Housing Committee statute somewhere, you begin to think that maybe it’s about time someone brought the unruly, lawless and perhaps even ungodly areas of the web to brook and enacted a law that stopped them behaving badly.

Well, I am really sorry to burst your bubble but this is not going to happen for several reasons. First, pirates on the web manage to always be ahead of the wave. Whatever law, legislation or act you put in force you are always playing catch up. Second, there are already provisions, in each country, which address the sale of physical goods which might be counterfeit. Third, when it comes to protecting copyright and intellectual property rights we have the digital copyright millennium act or DCMA, of 1998 which has been very effective in protecting the rights of copyright holders.

So the first question to ask is why do we now need another piece of legislation and the second question to ask is why are we only really hearing about it now?

SOPA has been around for some time but it is being deliberated by the US Congress this year and its lawmakers will decide if it should be passed into law or not. From where I stand we do not need it. I have spent some time looking at the proposed act’s wording, over 751 pages of it in fact and on the face of it, as it stands, it makes sense.

Just because it superficially makes sense however does not mean it should have your support and, incredibly enough, an American piece of legislature may soon have the power to determine the fate of online businesses in other parts of the world. If you find this as intolerable as I do you should then check out the podcast and see what you should do.

In this Online Marketing Help podcast we look at just why the proposed SOPA legislature is being brought in the first place and what you should do about it Best-selling SEO and Social Media Marketing author, David Amerland, explains.