In Techdirt's case the punishment was for an infringement that couldn't possibly exist. In the case of the 84,000 sites taken down during an anti-child-pron enforcement swing, the only fault was unknowingly using the same free DNS provider as a child-pron site and being raided by feds who didn't know the difference between DNS providers and their clients.
The bogus justification behind H.R. 1981 – SOPA-author Lamar Smith's other copyright-protection bill – goes even further even in the text of the bill, not just in mistaken enforcement of it.
H.R. 1981 treats the 98 percent of people on the Internet who have nothing to do with child pron as criminals whose Constitutional rights can be limited without the judge, jury, due process and assumption of innocence granted to the actual sex offenders.
If DMCA – which has been an actual law tested by actual court cases, applied in inappropriate ways by actual villains against actual victims for almost 14 years – can still turn up such obvious abuses as the one cited by Techdirt, how bad would SOPA or PIPA have been?
And how much damage could still be done by "copyright owners" using even more potent federal laws as a stick to beat competitors, critics and web sites that happen to disagree with their interpretation of their right to throw their own weight around?