As several websites are participating in a black-out today to protest SOPA and PIPA, I thought it would be an opportunity to speak up about it. I don’t like to be political or even controversial on 365 Frederick, but I do love the free and open-sourced internet. (I’m trying to make a living, and find it pretty useful.) I don’t believe in censorship and I certainly don’t believe the government should be given the sweeping power of censoring the content of the internet. So, I don’t really consider this political.
Internet Piracy. I think we all agree it is a problem. I’ve had my website content stolen twice. I was not happy. In one case I contacted the culprit and found a naive, misunderstanding of internet content ownership and we got to a solution. In the other case I couldn’t get to the culprit. But eventually Google did, and the evildoer was penalized in their search rankings.
The (Not) Solution
I don’t really know what the solution is, but I’ve done enough research to know that the vaguely written SOPA and PIPA bills are not it. [As I write this, my twitter feed is blowing up with news that Congressmen and Senators are dropping their support of SOPA/PIPA]
Here are some sources to help understand the issues surrounding SOPA and PIPA:
- Simply do a Google Search on SOPA, you’ll get pages of info.
- CNN Money has a good article explaining what SOPA is, without much opining.
- Mashable, a technology blog, explains why SOPA is dangerous.
- If you want to act, Stop American Censorship has a handy email form to send to your Congressional and Senatorial Representative.
- Representative Darrell Issa is heading up the writing of an open source bill on the web, Keep The Web #OPEN. Anyone can be part of writing a bill that really addresses the problem, but protects our freedoms. This is a fantastic idea. I don’t know enough about the technology to contribute, but it is fascinating to see the input from experts.
Whether you are a tech/geek or not, this issue affects you. 95% of us use the internet. If you’re in business, it’s increasingly a part of your livelihood. If you are buying something, you’ve probably searched the internet for information about a product or for the product itself. If you’re keeping up with friends and loved-ones on Social Media, you’re depending on the internet.
There are two basic flaws with SOPA, as I see it.
The only thing worse than 1. giving the government the power to censor the internet is 2. giving the courts the power to interpret vaguely written laws that give those censorship powers. It is a legitimate problem. Let’s give it a legitimate effort and amount of input to craft a good law (or deepen the laws we already have).
Thanks for reading, hopefully you’ll do your own research, please comment if you have anything to add, pro or con, I’d love to hear from you. Karen