I know I don’t normally go all political on y’all, mainly because I just don’t like talking about shit unless I study it, but these two bills have pissed me the hell off and I’ve been bitching about this shit for a couple of years at least, to deaf ears (see ACTA).
If you’re the type of person who shrugs and thinks, “Ah, someone else will take care of it. I don’t have to do shit,” or “It has nothing to do with me,” then GET THE FUCK OFF MY SOCIAL MEDIA because it has EVERYTHING to do with you if you’re reading this blog post or using ANY social networking site at all like Twitter or Facebook, or, y’know, you’ve shared a music file or two. How would you react if one morning you couldn’t access those sites anymore and never again? Exactly.
Yes, I know that’s the extreme end of what could happen and SOPA and PIPA’s supporters think we’re all being overly dramatic, but pay attention for a moment, if you will…
Last Wednesday, several websites participated in an internet blackout, including myself and most sites I’m associated with, such as Running Ink Press, LLC and Forever Nocturne. I signed the petitions, slapped a “censored” ribbon across both my Twitter and Facebook avatars, emailed Senators and Representatives, and I even wrote to President Barack Obama because I want my voice heard. I want Congress to know that I do NOT support these bills as they’re currently written. That’s how this country works, right? The people voice their opinions to their Senators and Representatives, and those guys are supposed to listen to us, not the lobbyists forking out insane amounts of money to get their legislation passed. Isn’t that called bribery? What. The. Fuck. Happened to this country? The fat cats sitting on Capitol Hill should have term limits, in my opinion, but that’s a whole other post altogether.
If you’re an American citizen, educate yourself and don’t sit back and let the hundreds of thousands of others do your work for you. Let your voice be heard, for Christ’s sake.
To give you an advantage on the obscure language of the SOPA bill, here’s a link to Chris Heald’s breakdown of SOPA. And let’s not forget the article from Mashable’s Editor-in-Chief, SOPA Will Take Us Back to the Dark Ages. Both articles are well written and informative.
SOPA is the Stop Online Piracy Act – H. R. 3261. While its main focus is not to prevent online piracy but to penalize anyone associated to piracy, and that includes you if you have a link on your site that leads to another site either known for piracy or linking to a site known for piracy, its obscure language is daunting, and if you don’t understand legalese like I do, it can be damned confusing. Hence, the reason I’ve given you the two links above. They explain it better than I ever could.
PIPA is the Protect Intellectual Property Act. Obviously, it’s meant to protect the things we make, such as movies, music, books, etc. The language in this bill is just as confusing as SOPA.
One bill was introduced by the Senate (SOPA), while the other was introduced by the House of Representatives (PIPA). The two bills are kind of like siblings, in a sense, as they are worded similarly and looking at similar issues—protecting intellectual property from piracy.
Now, supporters of these bills include the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and the US Chamber of Commerce, as well as some top level publishing houses. Makes sense, right? Of course it does because as long as piracy exists, these industries are losing money. Hey, I’m an author, so I totally get that. I don’t take issue with the reasoning behind these industries wanting to protect themselves. And while I’m protesting these bills, I’m not pro-piracy as they’re all claiming anybody who protests these bills are. What I am is pro-freedom of speech, damn it, and if these bills go through with their vague language, our freedoms could be in jeopardy.
Think about China, Iran, and Egypt. China censors the World Wide Web and has a special task force that even removed comments, etc. from its internet about our blackout protest. Wouldn’t want another Beijing happening, right? After the Iran protests in 2009, YouTube could no longer be accessed in that country because people uploaded videos of what was really happening directly from their phones. And Egypt literally vanished from cyberspace entirely during their protests last year so protesters couldn’t organize like they were via Facebook and Twitter. That means the Egyptian government shut down the internet in Egypt ENTIRELY! Do you want our government to have that kind of power? Or to even give them the possibility to have it? SOPA/PIPA would be only the beginning of such power, and THAT, my friends, is why the internet corporations and American citizens stood up and screamed on Wednesday.
WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg summed up the situation perfectly by saying, “The authors of the legislation don’t seem to really understand how the internet works.”
Clearly if they did, these bills either wouldn’t be on the table, or they’d be written with a better focus then what they are now. OR, they just think we’re all idiots and would let this shit slip on by, which is what happens most of the time because not enough people are paying attention. These are the asshats we voted into office, people. This is what they do.
My main point here is this: read these bills and any following them, educate yourself, and stand up for what you believe in and let your voice be heard. Hell, I may be wrong about a few things in this post, and by all means, correct me if I am, but I’m not some stupid bitch who claims to always be correct. One of the ways to become a better human being is to gain the ability to admit when you’re wrong, and believe me, this gal ain’t perfect by a mile.
But I am educated, and I do read this shit, and I have no issue whatsoever speaking my mind, as most of you know!
By the way, on Friday, Chris Dodd, CEO of the MPAA, warned of a backlash against President Obama over the anti-piracy bill. Now who’s being juvenile? Um, yeah. Good job there, Mr. Dodd.
Here is the press release for Fight for the Future’s January 20th email I received, which can also be viewed below as well as a few of the other emails I got today.
Wow. We just won.
From the Associated Press:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he was postponing a test vote set for Tuesday “in light of recent events.”
So, in other words, because of all of us. Absolutely amazing.
Demand Progress has been fighting this legislation for more than a year — having grown from nothing to overone million members during that period.
Even the Motion Picture Association’s Chris Dodd is awed by what just happened. Here’s what he said yesterday:
“This is altogether a new effect,” Mr. Dodd said, comparing the online movement to the Arab Spring. He could not remember seeing “an effort that was moving with this degree of support change this dramatically” in the last four decades, he added.
Thanks so much for your work on this. Will you consider a donation to Demand Progress so we can keep up the fight the next time the Internet comes under attack?
A big hurrah to you!!!!! We’ve won for now — SOPA and PIPA were dropped by Congress today — the votes we’ve been scrambling to mobilize against have been cancelled.
The largest online protest in history has fundamentally changed the game. You were heard.
On January 18th, 13 million of us took the time to tell Congress to protect free speech rights on the internet. Hundreds of millions, maybe a billion, people all around the world saw what we did on Wednesday. See the amazing numbers here and tell everyone what you did.
This was unprecedented. Your activism may have changed the way people fight for the public interest and basic rights forever.
The MPAA (the lobby for big movie studios which created these terrible bills) was shocked and seemingly humbled. “‘This was a whole new different game all of a sudden,’ MPAA Chairman and former Senator Chris Dodd told the New York Times. ‘[PIPA and SOPA were] considered by many to be a slam dunk.’”
“’This is altogether a new effect,’ Mr. Dodd said, comparing the online movement to the Arab Spring. He could not remember seeing ‘an effort that was moving with this degree of support change this dramatically’ in the last four decades, he added.”
Tweet with us, shout on the internet with us, let’s celebrate: Round of applause to the 13 million people who stood up - #PIPA and #SOPA are tabled 4 now. #13millionapplause
We’re indebted to everyone who helped in the beginning of this movement — you, and all the sites that went out on a limb to protest in November — Boing Boing and Mozilla Foundation (and thank you Tumblr, 4chan)! And the grassroots groups — Public Knowledge, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Demand Progress, CDT, and many more.
#SOPA and #PIPA will likely return in some form. But when they do, we’ll be ready. Can you make a donation to Fight for the Future, to help us keep this fire going?
We changed the game this fall, and we’re not gonna stop. $8, $20, every little bit helps.
13 million strong,
Tiffiniy, Holmes, Joshua, Phil, CJ, Donny, Douglas, Nicholas, Dean, David S. and Moore… Fight for the Future!
P.S. China’s internet censorship system reminds us why the fight for democratic principles is so important:
In the New Yorker: ”Fittingly, perhaps, the discussion has unfolded on Weibo, the Twitter-like micro-blogging site that has a team of censors on staff to trim posts with sensitive political content. That is the arrangement that opponents of the bill have suggested would be required of American sites if they are compelled to police their users’ content for copyright violations. On Weibo, joking about SOPA’s similarities to Chinese censorship was sensitive enough that some posts on the subject were almost certainly deleted (though it can be hard to know)….
After Chinese Web users got over the strangeness of hearing Americans debate the merits of screening the Web for objectionable content, they marvelled at the American response. Commentator Liu Qingyan wrote:
‘We should learn something from the way these American Internet companies protested against SOPA and PIPA. A free and democratic society depends on every one of us caring about politics and fighting for our rights. We will not achieve it by avoiding talk about politics.’”
(press release is here:
January 20, 2012
Fight for the Future, which ran the largest organizing sites for the recent SOPA protests (sopastrike.com and americancensorship.org), applauds the announcement that the Senate and House have postponed action on the proposed web censorship bills.
“We sent the MPAA back to the drawing board,” said Fight for the Future Co-founder Holmes Wilson, “But any law that lets the copyright lobby block our websites, censor our search results, or cut off our Paypal accounts–without even going through a judge–will be soundly defeated.”
“This was the largest online protest in history,” said Fight for the Future Co-founder Tiffiniy Cheng, “The MPAA was trying to quietly force this bill through Congress, but when internet users started paying attention, real democracy happened. This is a watershed moment in the fight against lobbyists’ influence on politics.”
“The MPAA could have proposed a law to address copyright infringement,” said Holmes Wilson, “Instead, they proposed giving rightsholders veto power over online innovation and free expression. At that point, it was just a matter of getting the public involved.”
A timeline of the SOPA protests:
Statistics from the January 18 protest:
Statistics from the November 16 protest: