@ Anonymous coward - Simplistic and wrong!
1. Good protests work! Stupid or not, governments throughout history have always been frightened of protests--especially when they take to the streets. The quickest way to have bad law changed is a big, decent street demo--today, our commons is the Internet. If you were alive during the Vietnam War you'd not even question this axiom. El Reg is right; we need even stronger action over SOPA, if that means more protests then so be it.
2. Laws usually come into existence through pressure from lobbyists. Effective lobbying is often difficult and expensive, thus many laws reflect the wishes of the powerful rather than the citizenry as a whole. The Internet has given us significant power to redress this imbalance, now SOPA seriously threatens to take it away. It's why we must do all we can to stop it becoming law. Moreover, we should take this fortuitous opportunity to unite the many disparate opponents of SOPA so that we've a future focal point from which to counterbalance lobbying from the powerful copyright industry and others--those who advocate punitive laws such as SOPA and PIPA.
3. Copyright law just isn't working right, it never has. Any law that gives exclusive/total rights to a person/entity to control access to information when that person/entity has had to stand on the shoulders of someone who has gone before to produce that information simply will not work on the grounds of fairness. Copyright law endows exclusive rights, trouble is that earlier information--usually in the public domain--is prerequisite (or implied), hence it's incorporated within the copyrighted material. Copyright, in essence, allows 'legal' theft from the public domain. It's why so many treat copyright as either wrong or a joke.
4. Nevertheless, we do need some form of recompense for those who add incremental changes to our knowledge. How to do this fairly in the current climate (of 126 years of the Berne Convention) will be difficult but it is now the big challenge. SOPA has highlighted this problem par excellence.
5. Before the Internet and computers the movie industry, publishers, et al had copyright exclusively to themselves as copying was technically difficult. For them SOPA is another and desperate attempt in a long line to retain total control. The trouble is that SOPA, if passed into law, would significantly erode our democratic rights. Essentially, passing SOPA would mean that we would all have to lose rights to protect the rights of a greedy few. Many of us consider this totally unacceptable and thus worth fighting to stop.
6. "The socially challenged pirates seem to only understand prison sentences". Unfortunately, this sort of simplistic and authoritarian rhetoric will only achieve more conflict--so too would SOPA. My reaction to your comment is best summed up in the words of that great wordsmith and social commentator, H.L. Mencken:
'For every difficult and complex problem there is a solution that's simple, neat - and WRONG!'