SOPA and PIPA = Censorship (Screed #43)

January 20, 2012…

Shame on both parties, Republicans as well as Democrats, for consideration of two potentially-damaging bills: SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) that are being discussed. These two bills would destroy the internet as we know it if Congress and the Senate chose to pass them. Fortunately, due to the extensive internet protests this past Tuesday by Wikipedia and hundreds of other major and minor websites, not to mention protests in the street, politicians quickly backed off. That doesn’t mean these bills are dead in the water just yet though.  

SOPA and PIPA basically force website owners to police user-contributed material and call for the unnecessary blocking of entire sites. Every site out there will have to be responsible for each other, which is nonsense. Small sites won’t have the monetary resources to defend themselves if accused of posting copyrighted material. Big media companies will have the ability and power to cut off funding sources for their foreign competitors, even if copyrights are not being infringed upon. Foreign sites will be blacklisted, which means they won’t show up in major search engines like Google. It doesn’t even matter if a site has done something illegal — all it has to do is appear to have done something illegal and it can be shut down. Inotherwords, conviction without trial. SOPA and PIPA build a framework for future restrictions and suppression, with threats of fines and imprisonment.  

Congress says it’s trying to protect the rights of copyright owners, but the “cure” that SOPA and PIPA represent is far worse than the disease. SOPA and PIPA are not the answer. They will fatally damage the free and open internet.

This is just a case of the entertainment industry trying to influence politicians through large amounts of money and lobbying. Another word for it is bribery. The RIAA will stop at nothing due to their unbridled greed.  

Already, the major filesharing site MegaUpload was taken down yesterday in an FBI sting and the people responsible for the site were arrested. This means that our country doesn’t even need laws like SOPA and PIPA to do their dirty work. Who’s next? Youtube? Facebook? They have copyrighted material posted on their sites by random users. Do they now have to worry about every video that someone posts, for fear of being shut down? It’s insane.

Censorship must be stopped — before it’s too late.