Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Against SOPA and PIPA


If I knew how to block out this site on Jan. 18 in protest against SOPA and PIPA, two bills currently in the U.S. Congress that claim to be against internet piracy, I would do it. I am not in favour of piracy, though I have major issues with what media conglomerates have done to distort copyright laws world wide.

The problem I have with these bills is that they are too vague and too broad. While they may become a U.S. law, it will affect internet users and site owners beyond U.S. borders. As a commenter on Boing Boing (dark for the day) said, in order to stop piracy, we're going to outlaw the sea.

There is a lot of rhetoric on both sides of the issue, but I recommend this article in The Globe and Mail for a clear-eyed look at what the internet community is upset about. There is also this comment to the article, which talks about the lack of due process:
"A website (of a corporation, individual, what-have-you) is considered guilty as soon as they are accused. Only once the site is shut down or made inaccessible can they try to defend themselves.

"Given that the whole concept of "fair use" is still, after 300 years, being refined, someone could use something fairly and still be shut down (see lack of due process above)."
If you are in the U.S, I urge you to contact your Congressman and Senators and register your opposition. You can do this easily by going to or the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

UPDATE: Clay Shirky is one of the smartest people in the room when it comes to talking about media. I've read his books and been lucky to hear him speak in Toronto. Watch the video below to get a "big picture" explanation of what SOPA and PIPA are actually about.

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