In case you haven’t seen Google, Wikipedia, the New York Times, Boing Boing, Reddit (if you’re a junkie like myself), or a plethora of other concerned sites, you probably should know that today marks an Internet-wide sound out against the SOPA/PIPA bills that are being floated through Congress right now.
A few key narrative points, again if you’ve been living under a rock under the sea under a giant Beluga whale:
- The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) are pieces of legislation that would allow the US government and copyright holders the ability to shut down websites thought to hold material that violates copyright laws.
- Theory and practice at odds with each other as always, this will probably lead to a mass centralization of Internet regulation power into the hands of a very small, typically very rich and very powerful, few.
- The typical technical arguments held against SOPA and PIPA is that this will impede capacity for innovation and freedom of information.
- But the more general argument is that certain people are just being dicks.
- More information click here and here and here and here.
I mean, sure, copyright law (and theory and culture) is one of those infinitely grey areas, and people who have created things should have the right to protect their own shit. But this is definitely akin to imploding your house to get rid of the rat that found its way into your underwear closet.
The Internet is an ecosystem far more complex than you or anyone else can ever imagine (viva la Hayekian Pretense of Knowledge!). Don’t fuck with it.
If you’re so inclined, use the picture above. Or make yourself useful somehow. Or go here.
PROTECT IP Act Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo. Note: This video addresses PIPA, not SOPA — the House version of the bill — which gives much broader control to the government.
On November 16, 2011, Congress began holding hearings on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) – the House equivalent to the Senate’s PROTECT IP Act. This bill is the first attempt by the U.S. government to censor the Internet. Corporations (specifically in the entertainment industry) want to protect themselves from piracy. When it comes to shutting down websites, it’s pretty easy if those websites are based in the U.S. However, the Internet is international, and we’re all familiar with sites in other countries that allow you to download movies, music, or TV shows for free.
This bill would allow corporations to call out to the government and have offending websites censored via DNS blocking (the same method used by China, Iran, and Syria) — so that Americans on the Internet cannot access them.
The bill would also require search engines like Google, Yahoo!, etc. to censor their search results — so you can’t even find these sites. The bill would require sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, or tumblr to censor their users, or risk being shut down — because they are liable if you post any clip of a movie or a link to a censored site. Essentially, if a link to an offending website is posted anywhere, the website on which it is posted could be shut down. It would also make posting any type of copyright-protected song a felony — 5 years in prison. Yes, you could go to prison for putting a video of yourself singing a song protected by copyright on YouTube.
More information past the jump: