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Why We Must Stop SOPA

Right now, there are two pieces of legislation in Congress that would change the Internet forever if they are enacted.  The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) would give the federal government the ability to potentially shut down millions of websites.  SOPA (the version being considered in the U.S. House of Representatives) is the more dangerous of the two.  It would essentially be the equivalent of a nuclear bomb being dropped on the Internet.  It would give government officials unlimited power to very rapidly shut down any website that is found to “engage in, enable or facilitate” copyright infringement.  That language is very broad and very vague.  Many fear that it will be used to shut down any websites that even inadvertently link to “infringing material”.  Can you imagine a world where there is no more Facebook, Twitter or YouTube?  Sites like those would be forced to hire thousands of Internet censors to make sure that no “infringing material” is posted, and many prominent websites may simply decide that allowing users to post content is no longer profitable and is just not worth the hassle.  Are you starting to get the picture?  That is why we must stop SOPA.  If SOPA is enacted, it could be the death of the free Internet.

But this is exactly the kind of bill that the establishment media has been waiting for.  It would give them back control.  SOPA is being heavily promoted by big media corporations.  If they are able to shut down free speech on the Internet, then suddenly everyone would be forced to rely on them for news and entertainment once again.

That is why SOPA and PIPA must be stopped.  A recent editorial in the New York Times described how these new laws would work….

The bills would empower the attorney general to create a blacklist of sites to be blocked by Internet service providers, search engines, payment providers and advertising networks, all without a court hearing or a trial. The House version goes further, allowing private companies to sue service providers for even briefly and unknowingly hosting content that infringes on copyright — a sharp change from current law, which protects the service providers from civil liability if they remove the problematic content immediately upon notification. The intention is not the same as China’s Great Firewall, a nationwide system of Web censorship, but the practical effect could be similar.

Everyone would be deathly scared of allowing anything to be posted on their websites in such an environment.  Free speech on the Internet would be a thing of the past.

An article on lifehacker.com explained how easy it would be to bring a claim against a website under SOPA….

If it’s possible to post pirated content on the site, or information that could further online piracy, a claim can be brought against it. This can be something as minor as you posting a copyrighted image to your Facebook page, or piracy-friendly information in the comments of a post such as this one. The vague, sweeping language in this bill is what makes it so troubling.

Fortunately, some of the biggest names on the Internet are rallying to defeat SOPA.  For example, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt says that he believes that SOPA will actually “criminalize” links….

“By criminalizing links, what these bills do is they force you to take content off the Internet”

Another huge name, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, is alarmed that SOPA would give the U.S. government the power to censor search results without even having to go through a court trial….

“Imagine my astonishment when the newest threat to free speech has come from none other but the United States. Two bills currently making their way through congress — SOPA and PIPA — give the U.S. government and copyright holders extraordinary powers including the ability to hijack DNS and censor search results (and this is even without so much as a proper court trial)”

In the United States, we used to believe that the government should not take our property away without a fair trial.

But now SOPA would allow the U.S. government to hit Internet websites with a “death penalty” without even having to go to court.

If SOPA becomes law, the Internet will change dramatically.

If there were no websites where people could post thoughts and ideas, what would the world look like?

Over recent months we have seen how sites like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook can literally change the face of the globe.  The following comes from the same New York Times article referenced above….

YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have played an important role in political movements from Tahrir Square to Zuccotti Park. At present, social networking services are protected by a “safe harbor” provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which grants Web sites immunity from prosecution as long as they act in good faith to take down infringing content as soon as rights-holders point it out to them. The House bill would destroy that immunity, putting the onus on YouTube to vet videos in advance or risk legal action. It would put Twitter in a similar position to that of its Chinese cousin, Weibo, which reportedly employs around 1,000 people to monitor and censor user content and keep the company in good standing with authorities.

Do we really want Chinese-style Internet censorship in America?

Thankfully, the Internet community is fighting back against SOPA really hard.

Initially, GoDaddy.com was publicly supporting SOPA, but a boycott organized on Reddit has hit them really hard.  In fact, GoDaddy lost more than 70,000 domains just last week.

All of this pressure forced GoDaddy to renounce its support for SOPA.  However, they are not actively opposing the bill at this point.

Congress is in recess right now, so action on SOPA and PIPA is stalled for now.  But the battle is far from over.

And the stakes are incredibly high.  One blogger recently put it this way….

“If either the U.S. Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA) & the U.S. House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) become law, political blogs such as Red Mass Group [conservative] & Blue Mass Group [liberal] will cease to exist”

Yes, the free Internet that we all love and enjoy today is under assault.

If we do not stand up now, we may lose it forever.

Every single day, control of the Internet gets tighter and tighter.  For example, did you know that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is now watching everything that is said on Facebook and Twitter?

The following comes from a recent Daily Mail article….

The Department of Homeland Security makes fake Twitter and Facebook profiles for the specific purpose of scanning the networks for ‘sensitive’ words – and tracking people who use them.

Simply using a word or phrase from the DHS’s ‘watch’ list could mean that spies from the government read your posts, investigate your account, and attempt to identify you from it, acccording to an online privacy group.

But it is one thing for them to watch the Internet.

It is another thing for them to shut down free speech on the Internet entirely.

Please do what you can to save the open and free Internet.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is helping to organize users of the Internet to protest this draconian legislation.  The following is from a statement that the EFF recently put out….

As drafted, the legislation would grant the government and private parties unprecedented power to interfere with the Internet’s domain name system (DNS). The government would be able to force ISPs and search engines to redirect or dump users’ attempts to reach certain websites’ URLs. In response, third parties will woo average users to alternative servers that offer access to the entire Internet (not just the newly censored U.S. version), which will create new computer security vulnerabilities as the reliability and universality of the DNS evaporates.

It gets worse: Under SOPA’s provisions, service providers (including hosting services) would be under new pressure to monitor and police their users’ activities.  While PROTECT-IP targeted sites “dedicated to infringing activities,” SOPA targets websites that simply don’t do enough to track and police infringement (and it is not at all clear what would be enough).  And it creates new powers to shut down folks who provide tools to help users get access to the Internet the rest of the world sees (not just the “U.S. authorized version”).

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has created a page that makes it very easy to send a letter about SOPA to your representatives in Congress.  You can find it right here.

There is also a website called “Stop American Censorship” that has even more ways to let the federal government know that you do not want SOPA to pass.  You can find that site right here.

We must stop SOPA.  The Internet has made it possible for average people all over the world to communicate with one another on a grand scale, and this is a direct threat to the establishment and the big media corporations that they control.  They are going to try again and again to take back control over the flow of information.  We must not allow them to succeed.

Please share this article with as many people as you can, and please do what you can to help defeat SOPA.

 

  • Gary2

    Good info Mike. I can’t think of a way to work in the tax the rich as a solution for this one. I never said taxing the rich and spreading the wealth would solve everything, just most things . It does sound like a bunch of greedy companies trying to get money but that is usally the case regardless.

    • Michael

      If this bill doesn’t get stopped, eventually you might not have anywhere on the Internet where you can post about taxing the rich.

      And even though I don’t like taxing anyone, I would still miss your posts.

      Michael

      • Armel

        LOL! Cheers to that, Michael!

      • http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/otep/smashthecontrolmachine.html SMASH THE CONTROL MACHINE

        DO YOU GET IT GARY2?????FIGURE IT OUT!!!

      • Adam

        I wouldn’t miss Gary2’s posts. Gary2 should look in the mirror and not blame other people that he is fat and poor. How about stop posting and start a billion dollar company and then give all the profits to the government.

        • Michael

          Adam:

          I enjoy the fact that people from a wide array of different ideologies post on this site.

          If everyone agreed with me all the time, it would be quite boring. :)

          Michael

        • Gary2

          I am not overweight, poor maybe, but not over weight.

          You sound like Herman Cain-if your not rich, don’t blame wall street blame yourself.

          Simple low information messages for even lower information people. I am guessing you also watch fox?

          • Ozmo

            Gary2,

            I have, but you obviously have not considered the % of people that it would encourage to just be lazy and not do anything. Kind of like now. Too many people abusing the system for a free handout.

            Srry this just pisses me off

        • Ozmo

          Adam,

          I’ve taken some time and read some of Gary2’s posts and I think he’s still angery about losing his job for down sizing and the end of his job. I believe he feels some rich person had it out for him and it changed his life.

          I get all that. I really do. But I have a belief if you take from one to give to another than the person getting has no drive to do anything because he will get it for free.

          Gary2
          If you can outline what taxing the rich harder would actually benifit I’ll be more than happy to listen.

          Michael
          You are too right everyone who has even thought they have seen something about this needs to stand up and let the selected know it will not be tollerated (SP?).

          • Gary2

            You clearly did not read my older posts as I have repeatedly explained why taxing the rich and spreading the wealth would be beneficial.

      • REED RICHARDS

        Michael,

        The NDAA just passed and now your biggest concern is this? I guess you are assuming that the control freaks and fascists will allow internet access in its FEMA camps………….

  • NWO Alert

    Controlling Who Has Access to Information

    He was already talking about computers in education, and at that time he said anybody who wanted computer access, or access to books that were not directly related to their field of study would have to have a very good reason for so doing. Otherwise, access would be denied.

    http://100777.com/nwo/barbarians

  • Ben Dover

    I like PIPA. She has a great tushie! (Sorry, wrong PIPA!)

    Ironic that this comes from the nation that basically invented the internet (Algore, call your office!.

  • highspeedloafer

    I will once again attempt to contact my legislators, but doubt that it will accomplish anything. They are already sold out. They think “WE the people” means them and not us.

  • ScoutMotto

    When Egypt went into revolution, their government shut down internet access. Though people couldn’t use their high-speed, they could still use their modem on a dial-up line and connect to a BBS. Just something to think about when the same happens in the US. That outmoded 56K modem just might come in handy again after all.

  • LC

    “Taxing the rich” is how we got into this mess. The rich don’t really pay taxes as they write the laws and get around them easily. There needs to be NO taxes, and then we would be free from paying for our own shackles. On the topic of the Internet Censorship Act, isn’t just history repeating itself? Now instead of burning books, we’re once again being faced with the government silencing any and all free thought or dissent. Human history is like a broken record playing the same thing over and over again!

  • Texar

    From the words of Mel Gibson, just before he got his head chopped off…. “FREEDOM!!!!!!!”

  • mondobeyondo

    I would like to submit a bill to the Congress, called the “SIUYA Act”. As in, “Shove It Up Your…..” It even rhymes with “Sue Ya!” Isn’t that clever?

    Unfortunately I am not an elected official, so it has no chance of passing.

  • William

    By stealth, in little bits and bites, the freedoms and rights that Americans have enjoyed for over 200 years are being crushed by things like the Patriot Act, and its extension, NDAA, and these efforts to censor the internet. The Smirking Chimp and war criminal Bush trashed the 4th Amendment. Now, the Obummer continues, and adds in the destruction of the right to a speedy and fair trial. ONE MUST ASK WHY??? The answer is that there is a cabal of pure Satanic EVIL that intends to control America, and that means YOU….total and complete control. Outside of moving out of America, there is only ONE thing you can do to stop this lunacy. VOTE OUT INCUMBENTS. Even voting is now suspect, given the MASSIVE voter fraud in Ohio in 2004 that put the criminal Chimp back in the White House…….but, that is the only answer, short of rebellion.

  • http://economicsurvivor.net Economic Survivor

    Beautifully put together post. We can’t go back to photocopiers, faxes and postal mailings.

  • Gary2

    Hey my cup just runneth over…all over my desk!

  • VaL

    I think this all started in the early beginning was because of that whining music/movie industry and the many P2P file sharing sites.

    It is all a huge ruse to create just another Government Department to soak us all for more tax dollars.

    The reason I say this is fighting copyrights on web sites will just cause more and more sites to pop up every hours in defiance of this. The posting and sharing won’t stop.
    It will be like the war on drugs, completely hopeless to fight and a huge waste of tax money while the few big wigs in charge of doing the policing will get filthy rich.

    It’s just dumb to fight what you can’t win, but our tax dollars being wasted is what I get so upset about.

  • Joe

    Frankly, I don’t think our representatives care at all what we want anymore. We can complain all we want, they don’t care. I think the game is rigged so only those who are part of the “establishment” ever get to run for anything at the federal level, except for Ron Paul who is grandfathered in and is ostracized as a looney. Remember Ros Perot? Was he not absolutely 100% correct on the results of globalization? Ahhh, but he was a fringe looney.

    I don’t even think our fuhrers are benevolent dictators, thinking they know whats best for us and forcing us to take our medicine. I don’t think they give a rip about us at all, only the “beast”, political power and military might.

    I’m not a big fan of Jesse Ventura because he thinks people of faith are idiots, but he is right in saying we are under a two party dictatorship in this country. And he is right in his assessment of the majority of people who shrug and take a nap while our bill of rights is destroyed and then get all worked up when they have a %5 tax increase or a decrease in so called “entitlements”. And of course, that then becomes the focus of politicians because all people care about is the “whore”, that is, material wealth.

  • Bryan Mac

    Oh you hard headed people. “The rich” are people who have more than a lot of others. They owe you nothing. Class warfare is a stupid form of anarchy. “The rich” did not take the money from you. If it came from you, you gave it willingly for a product like say….an ipad for instance. Rich people provide jobs so that middle class people can live the American dream. They pay taxes that amount to half of their income while millions who not only pay no taxes, get stimulus checks back at the same time a small percentage of the country are “paying the federal bills”. The Fedgov is your enemy, not “the rich”.

    SOPA is a sledgehammer to be used to kill gnats.This bill is not as much about business and copyrighted material as it is giving the the Fedgov a foot in the door. FISA was a big win for big brother. SOPA is the other shoe.

    • Gary2

      oh yeah wall street really created a lot of value. You are a perfect example of the low information voter.

    • Gary2

      PS-the rich have been waging class wrr for the last 40 years and are winning. Do you live under a rock? Are you really this misinformed ?

  • http://www.fight-bacne.com/ Alan Carr

    I’m a strong libertarian but one area I and most libertarians fall out over is copyright.

    To me intellectual property is exactly that, property.

    That doesn’t mean I support strict and punitive protections of it and I certainly don’t support this SOPA thing – but it is EXACTLY what I have so often warned about, when young and dumb morons on the net think everything should be “free”. Time after time I’ve pointed out that big and powerful companies have a stake in ensuring copyright protected stuff IS protected. Blatant IP theft and waving it in the face of the IP owners was and is bound to create a reaction.

    Yes it’s overkill, yes it’s a sledgehammer for a nut, yes they’re greedy and using the power of government, yes it sucks – but no, you cannot say you weren’t warned.

    Now, because of dum-asses who think they’re such smart and clever digital Robin Hoods, we risk losing virtually everything that makes the Internet fun.

    Thanks – IDIOTS!

    • blakmira

      You *are* aware, aren’t you, that this is just a ploy to stop free speech and all this ‘dangerous’ sharing of “real information” (that we no longer get from the mainstream media), and that the powers-that-be don’t really give a damn if someone’s property is borrowed or mirrored??? I highly doubt they’ll be targeting kindergarten websites that use copywritten pictures of Tinker Bell… Wake up.

    • Gary2

      don’t worry-the porn will still be there. You libertarians are such low info dolts.

  • monk

    “Be a HERO and Help STOP SOPA Now!! I’ll tell you How! This Video that Must Be SHARED!”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJIuYgIvKsc

  • Angus

    How to STOP the
    Stop Online Piracy Act
    .. awesome video explaining how the file sharing software was distributed by the very people now suing you for downloading content..

    http://www.youtube.com/embed/y7DkrsCCQ_A?rel=0

  • S. Riley

    SOPA Is an Agent Provocateur’s Dream.

    If SOPA is passed by Congress, Private and Government Agent Provocateurs to censor free speech will need only publish Text at Targeted Websites that constitute (copyright infringement). Websites that have large numbers of posted comments and information could not possibly investigate every posting to avoid being shutdown by the Justice Dept.

  • roninfreedom

    Heck yes SOPA AND PIPA must be stopped.
    If not?

    Welcome back to the Salem Witchhunts of the late 1600’s.

    Instead of ACUSED Witches being burnt at the stakes.

    It’s acused or today’s word claims of Copyright Infringers and linking to Copyrighted material that will be burned at the stakes or i mean website shut down.

  • vetnotshakinginherboots

    you think witch hunts no longer go on? you’re living in the “blissful ignorance” the bible warns us about. I was one, forced 2 sit in a class where the “people in control” taught “YOU can get away -w- ANYTHING, as long as you are liked”, I prefer being hated by people like this,-w- their “hitler’ish,unamerican like,attitudes!
    Thank God, I recorded! this is a “neverending story”.

  • Gary2

    If ignorance is bliss there are a lot of happy conservatives!

  • http://www.facebook.com/MADGIQUE Haven S. Wraith

    shouldnt we all be doing something, like, if everyone has a different opinion, wheres the strength in that?

  • Keith Jackson

    We’ll find a way to stop SOPA and make surte this bill doesn’t get passed! We want(and need)our internet!

  • Keith Jackson

    What I meant was(and excuse my spelling)we’ll make sure this bill(SOPA)doesn’t get passed! Can you imagine life without Facebook, Twitter, & YouTube?

  • http://gwynethllewelyn.net/ Gwyneth Llewelyn

    As a non-US citizen, while obviously I see with alacrity what is happening in a country which once used to be a standard of democracy and free speech, I have little or no power to participate in the democratic processes in the US which might or not turn the tide on initiatives like SOPA.

    But my problem is that the root nameservers are in the US. Most domain names are registered in the US, too. If someone files a claim against my own sites — which are hosted by US companies and have domain names often registered in US companies — my sites go down, too. Even if I used an European domain name and hosted on an European company, I wouldn’t be safe: sure, my site could be blacklisted to US citizens, but it gets worse than that — since Google, Yahoo, and Bing are US companies, SOPA would force them to drop my domain name out of their search engines. And then nobody on the world would be able to search for my site. I’d effectively be isolated from the world — even though I’m not an US citizen, and not liable under US law. That’s how serious and dangerous this can get.

    All it takes is one disgruntled person posting a comment on my websites with links to copyrighted or pirated content. And since I’m not an US citizen, I might not even be able — or unable to afford — a counter-lawsuit to get my site back. Even if I could, how much would that cost or how long would I have to wait until my sites are back online?

    SOPA is like giving a few people access to the red button that triggers WW III and then shipping them crates of beer until they get drunk. It’s not just “bad law” or “silly”. It’s complete and utter insanity.

  • MrBetterTimes

    SOPA would make the internet like mainstream TV.

  • http://www.socinet.nl/ gratis dating

    “The Internet is a power on its own, and unless they shut down the Internet, there is not much to do about it.”