Congress is at it again, y’all. While they should be coming together to create jobs, they are out here working on -ish that isn’t exactly a top priority. I’m sure you guys have seen that some sites have gone black today and several of us have replaced the avatars over our various social networking accounts with graphics encouraging Congress to “Stop SOPA.”
SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) is the bill sponsored by house Republican Lamar Smith. In theory, the bill and its Senate cousin, PIPA, Protect IP Act, is designed to protect intellectual property by getting a handle on rogue sites. The way it sounds, it seems as if the bill would be in place to protect those creatives amongst us from having our work stolen and passed off as someone else’s. Right? Wrong. When you read through all the legal jargon, SOPA is essentially creating a situation where they will have total control over the internet.
That’s right, you read just right. If SOPA and PIPA pass in the house and senate, it will change the internet as we know it. All these things we love like YouTube and your favorite social networking sites all have the potential to be censored to the point of being shut down. Why, you may ask? The smallest things are being deemed as piracy. And with that, Congress is proposing that websites suspected of copyright infringement be blocked or access to the illegal portion be blocked. While I agree that something should be done to stop the piracy, a.k.a. bootlegging, I just don’t see how violating everyone’s first amendments rights will make that happen.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
If these bills pass, my blog, your blog and all blogs you like could be deemed illegal because everything from a YouTube video to a gif someone decides to post in response to a post can all be deemed copyright infringement. Those videos I’ve done with music beds playing in the background … Copyright infringement. Artists sharing their mixtapes with us… Copyright infringement. The gov’t will be able to force sites like Google, bing, Adsense and others to cut ties with you because you or someone who comments on your site have violated this law. Something as simple as organizing a petition online can be deemed illegal. This, my friends, violates our first amendment rights.
While some of you who are not creative can afford not to care, those of us who are can’t. I urge you to visit this site and sign the petition to urge Congress to vote “no” on SOPA and PIPA. Do it for me!