This is an off topic post to raise awareness about what's gonna happen... If we let it happen, that is.
Basically, the entertainment businesses (Hollywood movie brands and music production companies) are trying to enforce a law that will shut down websites that offer access or information on how to access their copyrighted material.
The problem is that the government will have to power to seize your website and block your domain name just because a commentator left a link that leads to a site that shows copyrighted content. And if you embed a video on your blog that contains copyrighted footage or music (I know I did that) you're in the same bucket with big time spammers and hackers.
And since the law is formulated in broad terms, there will be enough room for them to decide what should be online and what not. So this is nothing else than the beginning of a censorship.
If they consider that what you say or show might cause revenue losses for the entertainment industry, they'll shut you down.
Websites that you enjoy and benefit from will also be affected - YouTube, Blogger, Wordpress, Tumblr, Posterous, Facebook, Twitter - all sites where users create and distribute content.
That's just for the beginning. Later on, if you get political on your website (like I am here), they can shut you down for being a threat to national security and for encouraging terrorism.
So, bye bye freedom of speech! Bye bye the possibility of raising awareness about any issue - only the mass media will be able to do that (and they said 9/11 was a terrorism attack...and here I go political again).
What we can do to stop this
First and foremost we have to let the government know that it is people who rule a country, through elected officials, not vice versa!
For important decisions/laws people must be consulted. Let us not be treated like kids - we can make a judgement and we call the shots!
- Sign the petition on Google
- Visit Stop American Censorship and write to your local officials as to not vote for passing the law.
- Express your opinion publicly about this (even if it leads to street protests)
- Support the free and accessible web knowledge sites like Wikipedia - check out their blackout website for 18 January 2012
Google, Amazon, Facebook and Wikipedia are threatening with a blackout day - that is a full day without service to raise awareness about this serious problem that is about to affect a free and democratic nation.
By the way, try to access any page on Wikipedia today (18 Jan 2012) and see what you get.
The law is supposed to be voted on 24 January 2012 so we still have time. Let's act now!
This law won't affect only USA
If this law passes, then other governments will consider adopting it since there will already be a precedent. World wide web censorship is just a few signatures away.
The internet economy is here - future jobs rely on it
Whatever business you're in, you can't survive without an internet presence. And the internet has created far more jobs and business opportunities than the entertainment industry has ever created.
Think about this - the big business (entertainment and what not) is not available to anyone. There are tons of barriers to entry any highly lucrative domain: high costs, capital, knowledge, connections, etc.
The internet, on the other hand, is a free medium where anyone can build anything - it's the perfect meritocracy environment. No entry costs, easy to access, easy to promote yourself or your services, easy to connect with others, easy to spread new ideas, etc.
So what do we really want? Gatekeepers that tell us what to do, or absolute freedom? It's up to us to decide and act now.
Read more about this on:
Even though the Hitler reaction parody series have been going on for a while, the chief editor at Copyblogger (Sonia Simone) endorses this video as it explains some important aspects of the SOPA act.
Be safe and stay free!
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