Regretsy Founder: SOPA Focuses On Things It Shouldn't

Like a number of people we’ve spoken to today about the impact of the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act, Regretsy.com’s Helen Killer (not her real name, in case you hadn’t guessed) tells Consumerist that she doesn’t oppose the idea of fighting online piracy. It’s just that SOPA goes too far and focuses on things it shouldn’t.

“I think the writers of SOPA had a legitimate interest to protect,” Helen explains. “If the bill were written carefully enough to only restrict access to copyrighted material, I’d be supporting it. But It’s not just access to copyrighted material that’s threatened, it’s commentary about material, including criticism. If you stop and think of the breadth of copyrighted material in the world, it becomes clear just how little would be left to discuss freely.”

As she posts on the Regretsy home page today, “Violating SOPA is a federal crime that carries penalties of up to five years in PMITA prison. Additionally, reposting a photo of a tiny top hat on Etsy without calling it “cute” and hearting the seller may be punishable by forfeiture and fine.”

She adds, “Post-SOPA, every published opinion will be the officially sanctioned opinion. That sounds more like advertising than commentary and criticism. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from Regretsy, it’s that people do not support your right to speak freely about their work unless you like it.

“Let me put it this way. When a kid singing a Justin Bieber song in his bedroom on YouTube risks jail time, the bill is flawed… Actually, I do advocate imprisonment for anyone singing Justin Bieber songs, so that’s a bad example.”