You see... This was originally going to be a post asking for some advice / information / schooling from all of you as to WHY, exactly I should oppose these acts. Serioulsy. For the longest time, reading what little I could about them (becuase the biggest problem that I saw was that the media was stifling all coverage of them, so there really was no public debate about them!) I could find very little that didn't seem right-minded. I mean... free speech is not about protecting the piracy of copyrighted material. And all the “It will end the internet as we know it!” stuff just sounded like so much alarmism to me. My inital thought was, "Bullshit. Global Warming is more likely to end the WORLD as we know, than any one bill is to end the Internet."
And while it pays lip-service to protecting site like YouTube, who would voluntarily take down copyrighted content, the fact is that this is just another exampel of a BAD LAW, that gets made when OLD MEN (and their corporate bosses) start legislating about things they don't understand.
Part of me wants to laugh - because this law will be largely uneforcable in any meanigful way. The U.S. Gov't has no jurisdiction to stop some site in Mozambique from hosting Pirated Content. And the fact that Google links to them? Hey: I can see that this is an issue that needs to be addressed. I also firmly bvelieve that Intellectual Property must be protected. But this? This is not the way to do it. I think the Wikia folks make the best case:
While the goals of SOPA and PIPA are clear and we support them, the way SOPA and PIPA attempt to accomplish the goals amounts does not work for the internet and companies such as Wikia because:
- they assign legal liability to site owners for ALL user generated content -- Wikia would have to inspect and filter everything users upload -- all text, images or video for copyright infringement and prevent it from being posted. This would be almost impossible to do and would create a terrible user experience with long delays between content submissions, approval and posting. We would have to do this even though we are not a target of this legislation.
- they completely bypass today's notice/takedown provision of the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) where content owners can demand copyrighted content be taken down and site owners have to comply -- which was a carefully constructed approach that balances the needs of internet companies and the content industry. This will stifle innovation on the internet that has become the 7th largest sector driving the health of the economy.
- they deny site owners the due process of law by enabling DNS blacklisting based on any good faith assertion by an individual copyright owners. A site like Wikia could essentially disappear from the web because of the claim of a single content owner who asserted they saw infringing content on our site without recourse.
- they also compel payment processors to stop doing business with the web site in question. Wikia could have our entire revenue stream stopped because a single good faith assertion of infringement on a single page in Wikia.
- while the laws are aimed at foreign companies in general, they can be equally applied to US companies such as Wikia.
So to show my solidarty with those who have also chosen to stand up and educate the public about this facsist law (seeing as how the media refuses to) here as some screen captures from various members of my Hall of Fame from earlier today, in protest of SOPA and PIPA:
Come on... Would you REALLY want to live in a world where that's a felony?!