Take Action – Stop Protect IP and SOPA

CensorshipYou might have noticed Wednesday numerous websites you went to had their logos blacked out, censored on their own.  “Don’t Let the Government Censor the Internet,” that’s the rally cry being taken up this week as people and organizations from all sides of the aisles have come together to stop H.R. 3261, S. 968 and S. 978 also known as SOPA and Protect IP.  The legislation is a scary specter looming over the internet and how we share information.

The legislation is the latest attempt to crack down on the theft of intellectual property and copyright.  The legislation does a couple of things that’s scary:

  • Through a court order the Attorney General can seize websites accused of violating copyright,
  • The legislation lifts the safe harbor language in the DMCA that protects websites from the idiocy of what their users do (for instance I’m not liable for your comments),
  • The legislation allows internet service providers to block websites (without fear of lawsuit) that are deemed a threat to “health and public safety”
  • The legislation would make it illegal to share material on the net the way we’ve done so for years and decades, it destroys the concept of Fair Use.  You could be fined or go to jail.
  • A few infringing links are enough to justify censoring an entire site, blocking good content along with the bad.
  • The US will be able to block a site’s web traffic, ad traffic and search traffic using the same website censorship methods used by China, Iran and Syria.

This legislation is ludicrous and scary.  The average person shouldn’t fear jail time because they remixed a song or music is playing in the background of a video.  We should be able to post our video game speed trials.  I should be able to post images of comics I review or show them off in video, without the fear of everything being seized.  The legislation is flawed.  Lamar Smith (R-Texas), one of the elected officials championing it and sponsor, has stated “I’m not a technical expert on this,” followed by “I’m trying to ferret this out.”  That’s his response to the fact the bill is flawed.  That shows how broken and not thought out this legislation is.

Take action now and write your elected officials in Washington, DC and tell them “HELL NO” to this.

Disclosure – Brett consults for the ECA as the Online Advocacy Manager