The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
6 Points

Resolved: The SOPA Act is Constitutional

Do you like this debate?NoYes-1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/18/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,923 times Debate No: 19945
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (28)
Votes (2)




The debate will be structured as follows:

- Round 1 -
Framework for the Debate
Acceptance (Just type something about accepting the debate).

- Round 2 -
Pro Case
Con Cross Examination

- Round 3-
Con Case
Pro Cross Examination

-Round 4-
Con Rebuttal
Pro Rebuttal

-Round 5-
Pro Crystallization
Con Crystallization

Good Luck!


After researching the topic I came to the conclusion that the SOPA Act is not constitutional so I accept this debate.

For clarity here are some definitions:

SOPA Act- The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as H.R. 3261, is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011, by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) and a bipartisan group of 12 initial co-sponsors. The bill expands the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual propertyand counterfeit goods.[2] [1]

constitutional- Established by or operating under a constitution [2]

I believe that the SOPA Act is a complete violation of privacy and liberty to the online media and will present my arguments in the next round. Thanks to MasterLD for proposing this topic and I look forward to his case!
Debate Round No. 1


A report concluded that "the U.S. economy loses a total of $12.5 billion in economic output every year". [1] With this in mind, the SOPA Act was created to deter this crime in America.

As such, I affirm today's resolution.

Contention One: The SOPA Act is a constitutional right
In Article 1, section 8 of the US Constitution, congress is given the right to pass bills that both provide for the general welfare, as well as to"secur[e] ... the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries". Thus, the SOPA Act is protecting a constitutional right.

Contention Two: The SOPA Act extends existing rights
As it currently stands, the SOPA Act gives "the U.S. Department of Justice and copyright holders the right to seek court orders"[2]. Seeing as the courts already have this power, it is constitutional.

In conclusion, we can see that the SOPA Act is both within the framework of the Constitution, and has already proven to be Constitutional. As such, I urge a Pro ballot.


I will follow the framework provided and ask my questions. I would also like to note to the voters that Pro ridiculously set up a 1,000 character limit (should already cost him the loss on abusiveness).

Was it ever stated in the constitution that they can censor the internet?

Are you aware that the bill says that if copyrighted material is copied on to a website, the owner/host of the website is legally responsible? So if one person posts copyrighted material on lets say Facebook, Facebook will be closed?

Do you consider this constitutional?

Where in the constitution does it state that the government has the right to censor private interaction?

How is securing something (like you provided) and censoring something the same thing?

Can you justify your 2nd contention at all? How is this even what the bill says at all?

How is it constitutional to violate the liberty of individuals?

Do you know that SOPA act will not stop any pirating because individuals can simply just enter the IP Adress instead?

Debate Round No. 2


  • No
  • This is untrue. As long as the site does not engage in the violation of US Copyright law, they are not liable (Page 25, Line 22).
  • Punishing Criminals is Constitutional, Yes.
  • SOPA is not an attempt to censor the public, nor does it meet the definition of Censorship. However, they do have a right to punish a felony (Copyright Infringement).
  • These are obviously different things. However, you have yet to prove that SOPA is Censorship.
  • If the Courts allready have the ability to use the powers granted in the SOPA Bill, we can assume that the SOPA Bill is constitutional as well, as it simply makes the process easier.
  • The SOPA Act does not violate the ability of people to follow their free will, it only gives law enforcement a tool to catch criminals.
  • A) The bill gives the power to demand that ISPs turn off service, which will stop IP Addresses as well. B) This is irrelevant as we are debating the constitutionality.

Please forgive me, this is my first debate. Please continue with your Con Case.



I can barely write anything but all I have to say is watch the videos to see the act's fradulence.

C1: First Amendment violation and liberty violation
My opponent can deny it as much as he wants it is completely internet censorship. I urge the readers to watch both videos to understand. Over simple copyrighted videos entire websites will be lost. There is no reason to go into such an endeavour that violates the privacy of individuals, such as a baby video that was taken off the internet for simply having music in the back that they didn't source.

C2: Negative Economic Impact
On October 28, 2011, the EFF called the bill a "massive piece of job-killing Internet regulation," and said, "This bill cannot be fixed; it must be killed." [1] The act will get rid of jobs and should not be passed. Vote CON to keep your account on this site and because PRO is completely abusive. See comment for source.

Debate Round No. 3



  • Seeing as upholding a Copyright is a constitutional right, and the SOPA Act is limited to copyrighted works, is it not therefor constitutional?
  • How does stopping a crime "hinder free expression" or liberties?
  • You provide an example of a baby video. Is the site liable? How can you do so as the bill has not been enacted?
  • Considering we are talking about only CONSTITUTIONALITY, isn't your second contention completely irrelevant to today's debate?
  • Considering the fact that Internet piracy steals money from the Entertainment industry, would the SOPA Act not ENCOURAGE JOB GROWTH?

My opponent accuses me of being abusive. However, I would like to point out that my opponent has completely broken the rules of the debate by providing videos instead of a case.

Seeing as my opponent is breaking the rules of the debate, while failing to provide any argument relevant to the CONSTITUTIONALITY of the SOPA Act, you should vote Pro in today's round.

Next: Summary



Note: My opponent has broken the rules set in Round one. It says that Round 4 is for the rebuttals, not CX. Thus sorry Pro but you have already lost the debate. Rules are rules and the voters can now vote Con. However I still will do my rebuttal.

R1: Constitutional Right??
It NEVER states in the constitution that the government has the right to censor the internet or any such venture. All what he cites states is that the Congress can SECURE the writings and discoveries, not remove entire sites based on "copyrighted" material or "offensive" material.

R2: Extension of rights
I can not detangle his syntax to understand what he is saying here. There is no citation in the constitution and it is not pertinent. Yes, they have power. However they do not have the power to completely get rid of material and jobs on the Internet. Unconstitutional.


Pro has broken the rules and has not refuted any of my contentions. Do not let him try to do it in the last round, that is illegal. Vote CON.
Debate Round No. 4


My Opponent has once again accused me of breaking the rules. I again will point out that he has broken the rules as well. But more importantly, we should stick to the actual issues presented here today.

My opponent claims that I have not refuted his claims. However, this is an outright lie. His contention one has no evidence, and he failed to answer the questions about this in his CX. Furthermore, his second contention is irrelevant to the question of constitionality.

Returning to my own case, he fails to refute the fact that upholding the law is a constitutional right. I also offered that the courts allready have this power, it is just a process for doing so more efficently.

In Conclusion, my opponent provides no evidence for any of his claims and fails to refute the Affirming contentions. Furthermore, he provides YouTube videos instead of a case, in clear violation of the rules. If you care about upholding the debating tradition, and the ACTUAL ISSUES, I urge you to vote Pro.


I have not broken any rules. Pro's frivolous attempt to defend himself by turning the tables was futile. It never stated that we can not use Youtube videos and they were part of my case since I couldn't explain because of the short character limit. However my opponent broke the rules again because he brought up his rebuttal in the LAST round rather than the fourth

C1 did have evidence because it is violating liberty and the first amendment, I don't think I need a source for the first amendment. C2 is related to the constitution for the founding fathers and the people who amend the constitution do consider the economy when making laws. Pro drops his first contention and says that protecting a law is a constitutional right but that is absurd. Protecting the law to enslave people is constitutional, no? I apologize to the readers for my opponent's poor conduct but if you vote for him you are setting a precedent for other debaters to break rules as well. It is crystal clear, vote CON.
Debate Round No. 5
28 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by cameronl35 6 years ago
MasterLD, you are new to this site. It is not frowned upon to use youtube videos, tons of members do it. You can't call someone abusive for using videos when I can't type enough, it's perfectly acceptable. Only the "newbies" make 1,000 char limit because when you stay on here you find out it is abusive and unfair.
Posted by MasterLD 6 years ago
A short limit is not abusive, it just challenges you to work harder to be concise. For Cameronl35, this was too hard, so he substituted Youtube Videos. Talk about abusive!
Posted by cameronl35 6 years ago
which round?
Posted by Cobo 6 years ago
In his first speech of course...
Posted by Cobo 6 years ago
Your opponent wrote three...
Posted by cameronl35 6 years ago
That's easy when your opponent writes two sentences...
Posted by Cobo 6 years ago
Already did...
Posted by cameronl35 6 years ago
You try...I urge you to

We'll see how I did..idk this one was iffy
Posted by Cobo 6 years ago
Anyone can argue with 1000.
Again, you know your capabilities better than anyone else.
If you didn't think you could do it then don't accept...
Posted by cameronl35 6 years ago
You try debating with like two paragraphs, abusive.

He broke the rules and spelled things was a very messy debate
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 6 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:32 
Reasons for voting decision: pro convinced me and had more viable proof, needed sources though. Poor debate cameron is usually better then that.
Vote Placed by imabench 6 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: first of all, sad debate by both sides. pro set an ungodly low character limit, abused the size of his text, and accussed the con of using illegal videos but the opening round does not forbid that, so conduct goes to con. the videos themselves were informative, sources go to con. as For arguments, cons argument that the constitution does not mention the internet is laughable (since they were both conceived 200 years apart) but the pro's werent any better. Pro had some spelling errors too.