Why, you might ask? Because it is a big freaking deal and I am adamant on making sure people think about it. With that in mind, have a cautionary tale:
This is merely a comment to an article (How SOPA Creates The Architecture For Much More Widespread Censorship, which is also worth reading!), but take heed, for it is truth. Here in the UK, the Internet Watch Foundation got caught out when it blocked ALL OF WIKIPEDIA due to the article on the Scorpions single Virgin Killer (see the unintended consequences section of their Wiki article). They’re not even a government agency – they’re just a charitable (?!!) agency ineffectively nannying against a minority of net users. Add in the previous governments sudden determination to kick pirates off the Internet (in spite of the EU stating that the Internet was a utility as necessary as electricity or water), and we were on our way to a fine mess. Things have quieted down a bit now, and the IPs are not mandated to apply the filters to their customers, but still… the UK isn’t the ‘ruler’ of the Internet – the US is, which is why net neutrality is especially key there.
Of course, it’s delicious irony that the same legislators who want to see us blocked and jailed and fined for being ‘bad’ online are the same ones pirating themselves:
Congress Plugs Anti-Piracy Legislation By Day, Pirates Porn by Night
All I can say is… dude… really? Dude. It’s not like these folks are poor, yanno? Not that poverty is an excuse to steal either, but it’s staggering that the ruling class always seems to think that the rules do not apply to them. The comment section also has a lively debate on what constitutes piracy, and I have a momentary twitching smile which flicks back to home-taping supposedly killing everything. I’m not in either camp, mind – I don’t think that each share is lost revenue because I know a lot of people who download things to see if they are worth buying before spending their money (thereby making a potential customer), nor do I think that it okay for people to ultimately not spend their money on things they like. If you like something, you should pay for it – flat out. How else are you going to get more of the things you like? I think that the movie and music industries have a long way to go on restructuring, but I think everyone knows that. But in short – hypocrisy in quite stinky, oh Congress!
Finally, something I both want to see and not see happen:
Internet giants seriously considering ‘nuclear option’ to stop SOPA
I would hate to see this because not being able to complete my circuit of Internet in the morning would drive my anxiety through the roof; I’m a touch OCD about my morning ritual. But on the other hand, I would LOVE to see it because as the article suggests – it would wake up the apathetic and decide the ambivalent. And, for the lazy but caring slacktivist, the article has an easy link to email your Congressperson! At the very least, consider doing that – if you’re reading this, I presume you love the Internet and want it healthy. Asking your elected members of government to work for you like they’re supposed to isn’t just a privilege – it’s sort of a duty. I’m not saying people need to be picketing and calling up all the time to do it – emails are good and and valid tools. Nor am I saying keep up with all the minutiae of government – just be aware of the big things that effect everyone like this. If you go and email your Congressperson about this, I personally thank and congratulate you for making the effort. If you don’t, well… that’s your choice. But it’s sort of sad if you cannot spare less than a minute to add your voice to saving the Internet!
Otherwise, have yourselves a fantastic weekend and all that jazz!