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Daily Archives: January 17th, 2012

Dear readers, as many of you are quite familiar with the internet (and for those of you who aren’t, there’s the wikipedia link for it, go get some education about this tool that you’re somehow, inexplicably using), I’m sure that you’ve heard of piracy. No, not that kind of piracy.  The kind that results in lawsuits because of something you downloaded from a totally legitimate and completely not illegal site. Online piracy is a huge issue, because the nature of the internet allows for people to transfer files via channels that aren’t accessible to your typical user. Most users aren’t even entirely certain of how things work, and don’t care, as long as the internet button brings them the research or the music or the porn. Seriously. They just don’t care. If someone threw an unopened carton of Oreos at your feet, would you question the legality of how those Oreos were obtained? Or would you just grab a glass of milk and chow down? With the internet, most people don’t question where content comes from. When you have what is essentially the combined knowledge of all of humanity at your fingertips, you use it.

That accessibility could change drastically. Some of our lawmakers have determined that the best way to fight piracy and protect the people who produce the content we find is to exert control over what can be viewed. SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, is a bill that was introduced in October of last year, and is threatening to end the internet as we know it. Yes, that may sound dramatic, but this bill is overkill and then some. Let’s start with the full title of the bill: “To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.” —H.R. 3261. You know what scares me about that title? Those last four words, “and for other purposes.” That’s way too vague, and way too Big Brother-y for my tastes. I’m not going to hand the government the ability to filter what I’m going to look for online.

There’s plenty of information on SOPA out there. Get out and access it while you can, and learn the truth.

Wikipedia will be going dark for 24 hours, in protest of SOPA. If you can’t access the majority of the links in my posts, now you know why. I support internet freedom. If you do too, and you live in an area represented by one of these individuals, please contact them and ask them to reconsider their position. If your representatives are against SOPA, call them up too, and thank them for protecting you.

Yes, internet piracy is bad, but the current wording of SOPA and the associated bill, PIPA, is not conducive to maintaining freedoms that we are promised as Americans. As it stands, SOPA will hurt everyday web users far more than it will hurt the pirates. It’s far more likely to incite a “worldwide arms race of unprecedented ‘censorship’ of the Web,” according to Vint Cerf. This isn’t the way to stop the piracy. This is the way to stop progress. Fuck censorship. Stop SOPA.