In opposition to SOPA and PIPA
Today, many of the most prominent websites (Wikipedia, Google, and many more) are symbolically “going black”, presenting arguments against SOPA (H.R.3261, the Stop Internet Piracy Act) and PIPA (S.968, the PROTECT Intellectual Property Act ... where PROTECT is actually an acronym for Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of). I’d join them if I knew enough about the construction of websites to be confident that I could a) send readers to a page that explains what’s bad about SOPA and PIPA and also tells you how to write messages to your Congresscritters, and b) drop the page-forwarding and return to the usual site afterwards.
Because I’m utterly clueless about what goes on under the hood of my website, instead I’ll just send you to any of HorsesAss or the Northwest Progressive Institute (locally) or Wikipedia, Reddit, or Google (nationally) for such actions.
Why are you being asked to oppose these bills? Aren’t online piracy and theft of intellectual property important issues, worthy of powerful legislation?
Yes, of course they are. But these bills, even though they have bipartisan co-sponsorship—indeed, S.968’s author is the estimable Pat Leahy (D-VT)—aren’t really intended to do the right thing in combating piracy and IP theft. No, they’re backed by the Hollywood business oligarchs and designed solely to protect their products and their property. IOW, movies, TV shows, music, and the like.
What’s worse are the invasions of privacy and heavy-handed penalties that would be permitted under SOPA and PIPA. Run afoul of Disney or Fox, and your website can be shut down or blocked, just like what China does to a wide variety of American sites (Google among them). Even if you aren’t the thief. Even if you aren’t the pirate. It would lead to outright censorship, without in any way getting at the shady thieves and pirates, who (like spammers) would simply hop aboard other sites in other countries while the legitimate businesses would be the victims. Below, I’ve embedded a video that lays out the whole story:
Thankfully, our own Senator Maria Cantwell is leading the fight against SOPA and PIPA. My Congressman, Jim McDermott (D-WA-07) opposes the bills, as does Rick Larsen (D-WA-02). As far as I can tell, though, Senator Patty Murray hasn’t taken a stand one way or the other (at least she isn’t one of PIPA’s 40 co-sponsors). So she’s where you should concentrate your letters and email, along with the other seven Washington Representatives. None of the latter group is a co-sponsor of H.R.3261.
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