Tuesday, January 17, 2012

PIPA and its sister-bill are SOPAking dangerous

Yes, believe me, I went there.

In all seriousness, SOPA and PIPA are both bills that, if passed, would be a detriment to the Internet and especially what I do here at Kentucky Geek Girl. And the bills wouldn't just affect me, they would affect everyone in the blogging community who wants to spread the joy of nerdity and geekiness to the masses.

Let's say I want to talk about an upcoming movie. If SOPA and PIPA passed, I wouldn't be able to share any media content related to that movie, because the MPAA and production companies would be able to flag it as copyright infringement, just because I wanted to talk about how awesome something looked. Internet Service Providers (here in Kentucky the big one is Insight Communications) would have to block access to the site, it wouldn't appear in search engines, and if I had a Paypal link, the company would stop transactions. All because I said something looked cool and maybe gave a synopsis of it.

This could affect people who create content for DeviantArt, fan fiction writers, bloggers, Youtubers. Internet content creators would be blocked from doing something that they love to do, just because some corporation says they don't like it.

Just because the White House has said that it would not support the bill, that will not necessarily kill the bills. The US Constitution allows a 2/3 vote of Congress to override a veto. With so many Congresspeople being lobbied to by these major corporations, it is hard pressed to find many of them who would be opposed to the bill. I contacted Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Ben Chandler (D-Kentucky) but of the three only Paul's office wrote back. This is what he had to say:

Two measures dealing with online copyright infringement have been introduced in the 112th Congress - the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PROTECT IP Act) in the Senate (S. 968), and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House of Representatives (H.R. 3261). The PROTECT IP Act and SOPA aim to protect the rights of trademark and copyright holders, including a private right of action for intellectual property owners. This means that intellectual property owners as well as the government can seek injunctions against websites "dedicated to infringing activities." 
 I oppose the PROTECT IP Act and SOPA. Blocking entire websites from search engines due to questionable contect is not only an overreaction to the problem, it essentially gives government and some companies the power to regulate and censor the Internet. Using a similar law, the Department of Homeland Security has already seized website domain names - including some by accident. The Internet has grown rapidly and flourished over the years, and has done so largely free from such government or regulatory interference.

The email goes on to discuss that the wording of the bills are very vague, which I completely agree with. I'm writing this to urge everyone to contact their Congresspeople about this bill. It is very easy to find their contact information. Just select your state on the "Find Your Senators" drop down here and enter your zip code for your State Representative. But protesting SOPA doesn't just mean contacting the Legislature. If you have a blog, Twitter, Tumblr, whatever, black out on Wednesday, January 18 in protest. We can make changes at the grassroots level. Encourage your friends to participate, because without everyone in this together as a cohesive unit, change cannot be made.

Here is a list of companies that are going dark. Many of my favorite geek news sites have confirmed they're going dark, as is Gamebreaker.tv, of which I'm a huge supporter.

Here's a great video that was produced by TotalBiscuit which breaks down SOPA and PIPA.


No comments:

Post a Comment