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Published by:
Stanford Business School (2013)
14 January 2013
8 pages
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In 2011, The Walt Disney Company and other content owners aggressively lobbied Congress to pass the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The intent was to prevent unauthorized copying and transmission of copyrighted materials. This had been largely eliminated on US-based websites, but some copyright owners claimed it was prevalent overseas. SOPA (and its companion legislation 'Protect IP Act,' or PIPA), would allow the government or private companies to request court orders to bar any US company from 'enabling' alleged infringing sites. SOPA initially had bipartisan support, and previous efforts to strengthen copyright protection had faced little opposition. The bill supported the commercial interests of Disney and other content owners. However, many of the specifics of SOPA and PIPA had the potential to stir powerful opposition from a wide variety of sources. The case discusses copyright law and the impact of technology advances on protection of copyrighted materials. It also describes SOPA and aspects of the proposed law that might attract opposition. The case concludes by asking students to consider SOPA from the perspective of both Disney and potential opponents.


Copyright; Intellectual property (IP); Legislation; Coalition; Lobbying
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