I usually don’t get political on here, but I feel like I would be doing my clients a disservice if I didn’t mention this. Some of you may already know, but I want to make sure! The Stop Online Piracy Act (HR 3261) or the Protect IP Act (S 968) could be the end of the Internet as we know it. These bills are currently being considered by our Senate and Congress, and those of us that use the internet to make our living (or even as a hobby) need to stop this from passing.
On the surface, SOPA/PIPA simply seems like a protection for the entertainment industry to insure that internet piracy doesn’t put big productions and musicians out of business. I’m for that. What I’m not for is limiting free speech and completely undermining the internet’s working system in the process. When it comes down to it, the guys who rip off copyrighted material for their own gain know how to go around measures like this – and they will. These bills won’t end internet piracy, but it could shut you – dedicated mom blogger or creative etsy shop owner – down and land you in jail. That cute video of your adorable kid dancing to the latest GaGa? Yea, don’t post that online. You could get 5 years in prison for copyright infringement.
Sites like facebook, google, and pinterest, will essentially be shut down because there’s no way they could effectively filter their user’s content. There would be no more social networking. Don’t believe me? You need to see this infographic at americancensorship.org. Even WordPress is condemning the possibility of this bill’s passing. For a great breakdown of what this bill entails and how it will affect you, check out this video. I know what you’re thinking – “This is terrible!” Right? Well, let’s do something to stop this from happening. Let’s get involved:
- Blackout your blog/site/facebook/twitter/google+/etc on January 18 in protest. You’ll be joining thousands of other sites, including big names like Mozilla, Reddit, and TwitPic. Make sure you add your site to the list at sopastrike.com.
- If you have a self-hosted WordPress blog/site, there’s a plugin for that: Simple Stop SOPA. This plugin will censor your site on January 18th in protest of SOPA and PIPA.
- If you have a Blogger blog, consider skipping the day and simply post a “censored” image instead of your regularly scheduled post.
- If you’re feeling extra patriotic, check out SOPA Opera to see if your congressperson supports or opposes the bill and then contact your representatives and let them know what you think about this violation of your first amendment rights. I’ve contacted mine several times through email and I can always count on a response.
- Die-hard Firefox user like me? Mozilla has an add-on that will let you know which websites support SOPA. This could be helpful in boycotting these sites until we know this bill won’t pass.
- Spread the news! Tell everyone you know about this bill. Knowledge is power. And if enough of us make a stink about this, there’s no way our lawmakers can pass it with a straight face.
I hope you will join me in protecting the internet. Let me know what you’re doing to get involved! I’d love to check it out!