Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stop SOPA and PIPA. It's important!

Obviously if you're on the internet, you've heard about these things a lot. I'm not planning on doing anything particularly flashy here, I'm just gonna give my opinion.

The problem with these pieces of legislation is that they're vaguely worded and draconian, allowing for arbitrary enforcement based on how much political pull can be applied. They would make running a website rather like playing Russian Roulette, especially for smaller operations that don't have the money or manpower to chase down every link that might contain infringing material.

The enforcement of this act also abrogates due process, and tramples on a site host's constitutional 1st. Amendment rights.

The classic definition of censorship is making it illegal to say something. Making it prohibitively expensive, or making your message impossible to reach, is just as insidious a form of censorship, and it allows those in authority the cover of technically not making the message itself illegal. SOPA and PIPA are built to allow just that sort of abuse.

I exhort my fellow Americans to contact their Senators and Congresspeople. If you go to Wikipedia today and type in your zip code, you'll get contact info for your representatives. I got my reps' phone numbers and called them all, and left messages assuring them that if they vote YES on these bills, they will NOT be receiving my vote in the next electoral cycle.

And finally, while I hope that public outcry will force the sponsors of these bills to back down, bear in mind that this will at best be a temporary victory. The film and music industry have deep pockets, and until the current old guard in positions of power in those industries have been replaced by generations who've grown up with the web and understand its potential, SOPA & PIPA will reappear in some new form. Stay informed, stay vigilant, and VOTE.


1 comment:

  1. Really glad you wrote this -- very well put. It's very nice that SOPA/PIPA have been set aside (at least for now) due to the unified voice that people put forward last week. Good job, everybody!