Jan 18 2012

SOPA, PIPA, Censorship & You

I’m incredibly surprised at myself for keeping so quiet about this issue until now. What seems like a million years ago now, I participated in “Grey Day” as a sort of grassroots effort in 2000 for People of the Internet to self-regulate how they generated their web content. It was the advent of “hot-linking” and posting whole swaths of copyrighted content on your website, because who cares? The C&D you got in your inbox very quickly informed you of who cared indeed.

Basically, it was trying to send the message that if everyone steals content for their websites, no one will make anything any more and everything would just be drab and blah and boring and “grey.” So, stealing is wrong, mmkay, don’t do it. It was a cute effort, but ultimately didn’t work. People still steal content on the Internet. All the time. There’s tons of ways to do it. And lots of people don’t even think they’re doing anything wrong.

I don’t like copyright infringement. It makes me kinda grumpy. I like copyright infringement on the Internet even less. People who honestly believe “Everything on the Internet is free” need a boot to the head as far as I’m concerned. Just ask Cooks Source magazine how free the Internet is. I’m fascinated by copyright law. I have extended family members who’ve made it their specialty (I come from a very litigious family).

So, with the hub-bub of SOPA/PIPA/Censorship, etc it’s very odd that I’m not being more active or vocal on it. If there was ever a day to be so, today’s the day. I’ve already written one of my senators, Ben Cardin. He supports PIPA and I was shocked and appalled. Then I saw text from a press release that he’s a co-sponsor of the bill to have an active role in it since he is no longer on the committee that would give it the most attention and also that he wouldn’t vote for it as-is. So, if you’re in Maryland, be a dear and encourage him to stick to his guns on that one.

So, what’s finally spurred me to comment? Google and this: End Piracy, Not Liberty. The last paragraph is the crux of the whole SOPA/PIPA thing: As written, it won’t work to stop piracy.

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