Stop Online Piracy Act

What Does Stop Online Piracy Act Mean?

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), or H.R.3261, is a bill that was on the fast track to a final House Judiciary Committee vote on January 24, 2012. On Friday, January 20, 2012, the controversial SOPA bill was canceled by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.).


Geared toward preempting U.S. property theft by promoting creativity and innovation, SOPA was introduced to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in October 2011. SOPA expanded the PROTECT IP Act of 2011 (PIPA), a similar Senate bill, by giving copyright holders and U.S. law enforcement the right to battle infringed – or allegedly infringed – intellectual property (IP) and counterfeit products.

SOPA is also known as the Enforcing and Protecting American Rights Against Sites Intent on Theft and Exploitation Act (E-PARASITE Act).

Techopedia Explains Stop Online Piracy Act

Copyright infringement is rampant on the Web, and SOPA was introduced to give copyright holders more protective power over their work. However, critics contended that SOPA and PIPA would stifle online freedom of expression and put undue strain on websites to police their content – especially social media and other sharing sites.

SOPA supporters included many companies in the entertainment industry, cable and satellite TV, etc. Opponents included many of the top Web properties, Internet service providers (ISP) and most in the Web development industry.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.