So long, and thanks for all the bits. —The Interwebs
So, have you heard about the end of the internet? Yup. I say end because that’s what it will be. It will certainly end the internet as we know it. No, this is not a crazy conspiracy theory about the illuminati or a crystal skull. This is my outrage over a proposed bill to congress called the “H.R. 3261: Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA) bill. This bill is a sham. SOPA will not do what it says it will do. Rather, it seeks to put the power and control of internet content in the hands of corporations, and effectively censor the internet for the rest of us.
Here’s the gist: SOPA claims to be about protecting against internet piracy, unlawful entertainment torrents, and other online copyright infringements. Now, as an artist, you would think I would agree with this and support this bill. I do not, nor does any artist I know. Why? Keep reading.
SOPA is really a mask for corporate greed and control. It will make those who can afford to pay for royalties and other credits that will be needed (under this bill) to control what gets published online and when. Effectively, they will own the internet. All the warnings about this bill mention the word “censorship” because that is what this bill is for. Those of us who blog, podcast, twitter, or are journalists or freelance reporters will suffer.
If SOPA were to become law, there is a long list of reasons why it would threaten the functioning, freedom, and economic potential of the Internet, but here are PK’s main concerns:
- by short-circuiting the legal system, it gives rights-holders a fast-track to shutting down websites.
- by creating conflicts between DNS servers, it would make you more vulnerable to hackers, identity theft, and cyber-attacks.
- by sanctioning government interference with the internet, it would make the internet more censored, akin to that of China and Syria.
To make it worse, SOPA is ineffective. So the question is, is an ineffective bill worth the risk of damaging free speech and the functioning of the Internet? We say no.
So again, I say…
This is more than just about not being allowed to post whatever we want. There are already laws in place to deter people from copyright infringement and protect artists and companies from internet piracy. What this will lead to, is censorship and control by big businesses. It will put all online content under the power of large corporations—as they are the only one’s able to afford the royalties and other credits needed (under this bill) to control what gets published online and when.
We have already been censored by the media, and we’ve already allowed our public information to be controlled by big business and political powers. Newspapers are dead. Television news coverage is entertainment. It is no wonder that the internet has become the new home of real news coverage. The interent is the only source of information that is powered by the people.
Who will this bill effect? Us. What does it really effect? Free speech. Will it do what it claims it will do? No! There you have it. I hate to be so dramatic about it, but I truly believe the interent is our last, best stand for freedom of speech in this country. Educate yourself before it’s too late. Send a letter to your congress person today!
Send a personal letter to your congress-person: Tell Congress that you oppose H.R. 3261. Begin with this form on the Public Knowledge webpage “This Bill Seriously Screws with the Internet.” It’s super easy because they find your corresponding congress-person for you! A copy of your letter will also be posted anonymously on PopVox and Public Knowledge. Remember, personal letters are more effective at getting noticed and changing minds!
Sign the online petition: Don’t Censor The Net. Go to this petition site and become one of the many many many people against this bill! Please bear in mind, a personal letter to your congress-person is a more influential way to go.
Share! Please, share! Tweet about it! Post the issue on Facebook! Tell people! Don’t let this happen to our global online community. Share your view-point.
My Personal Letter
Here is the example of my own personal letter (the anonymous version as posted on PopVox and PublicKnowledge.org) sent to my congressman in California.
LA Times editorial: Policing the Internet
NY Times editorial: Internet Piracy and How to Stop It
The Electronic Frontier Foundation on SOPA, COICA, and PIPA: Internet Blacklist Legislation
The EFF and Internet Engineers Against COICA: An Open Letter From Internet Engineers to the Senate Judiciary Committee
Love and Activism,