New Chapter Day! [This post has been found in violation of H.R. 3261 S.O.P.A. and has been removed]January 18, 2012
The new chapter is ready. It would have gone up today, but instead, it will be released tomorrow so I can add just one small voice to the SOPA Blackout in progress at Wikipedia, Reddit, and other sites trying to spread awareness of the “Stop Online Piracy Act” or SOPA bill which the US Congress will vote on next week.
The bill is superficially about copyright protection and intellectual property. It sounds plausible, movies are big business. I’m as worried as anyone about the disproportionate amount of power corporations have gained over US lawmakers, but I think we can all agree that if Warner Brothers is spending upwards of $100,000,000 on The Dark Knight Rises, it’s not unreasonable for them to ask us $10 a head to watch it rather than having anyone able to download it for free.
BUT this legislation that is allegedly about pirated movies and TV shows has provisions to snuff out any website, arrest those who even maintain a site that LINKS to objectionable content, and essentially impose China-modeled controls over the Internet in the United States. This proposed legislation also seems to have surfaced immediately after WikiLeaks.
There is a history in this country of a government that cannot go after people for one thing – like, say, protesting the war in Vietnam – finding a way to go after them for something else that many of them do – like, say, smoking marijuana.
There is no social site out there where people are forwarding a Huffington Post article about Ron Paul where somebody isn’t also sharing a YouTube from The Brave and the Bold cartoon. There is no blog network where somebody hasn’t posted a still photo from Twilight made into a faux motivational poster about Edward being the lovespawn of Dracula and Tinkerbell.
ANY SOCIAL NETWORK and ANY WEBSITE can be shut down under SOPA, and a case can be made against any one of us. This is an attack on free speech in the one medium left that corporations cannot control, where this little gal writing a fan fiction series can shout just as loud as Time Warner, and where the merits of each view decides who the audience will go back to, not the advertising budget behind it.
Whether you are political or not, like Cat-Tales or not, whatever it is you want to say online, this is a time to call your Congressman and tell them to oppose SOPA. Because whatever other positions they hold, it doesn’t make much difference if they give on this one. This is the dealbreaker, folks. This is the one that snuffs out our ability to talk about all the others.
SOPA is not about copyright or piracy. It is about censorship and free speech. Use it loose it, guys. Use it or lose it.