Rupert Murdoch recently tweeted his fury at Google et al, complaining that there is no danger to the Internet.

Well, up to a point, Lord Copper…

Here’s the front page of the UK newspaper The Times, owned by Rupert Murdoch. Straight away, there are several offsite links on there – The Times on Twitter and Facebook, for a start.

And that would be enough to block The Times from being seen in America, and force Visa and Mastercard to block payments being made to News International from their foreign subsidiaries.

Don’t believe me? Read what the EFF says here. If you’re in tl;dr mode, here’s the key part:

a copyright owner may now be able to use these new provisions to effectively shut down a site by cutting off access to its domain name, its search engine hits, its ads, and its other financing.

All it takes is one. And it’s easy to do, as Microsoft proved in 2006. They posted a version of the copyrighted song Happy Birthday, attributing it to “Traditional”. Not so – the current owners are Time Warner (I think. Yeah, you guessed it – tl;dr…)

So, should the copyright owner of Happy Birthday file a complaint, Microsoft loses their website. Without trial, due process, or appeal. And then, so do people who link to Microsoft, because they “help users access sites that may have been ‘blacklisted'”.

Now, before I go any further, I have to apologise to Microsoft for using them as an example. Yes, it was an easy mistake to make, and yes, it was five years ago. But that’s the point – one simple slip-up like that and you fall foul of that law.

And if you link to “an infringer”, you lose your sites too. And any chance of getting paid by either Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Google AdSense, or any other payment service that has an arm in the US.

So go ahead, Rupert, support SOPA. But when it passes, and News International becomes designated a copyright infringer, and you’re not allowed to take payments over Visa or MasterCard, don’t say you weren’t warned…