This will be short. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that Wikipedia, Google and other major sites across the Internet are protesting a bill in Congress known as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
This bill threatens to make 3rd parties liable for user-created infringing content, threatens the DNS protocol that the web uses to turn http://www.google.com into an IP address so you can get there, and supplant the already-abused DMCA takedown process in favor of unilateral censorship of websites when they are accused of even linking to infringing content, all because the entertainment industry keeps having their best years ever… Uh, I mean, keeps getting ‘destroyed’ by piracy.
I’ve previously given my stance on piracy, so I won’t repeat it here. As an independent content creator, this bill scares the daylights out of me. Why should I be liable for comments made on my blog? What if my work should become popular (a guy can dream, right?), and somebody with deep pockets decides they don’t like me making money and accuses me of infringement, killing my way to connect with my readers?
Sure, that’s an extreme scenario (and a fairly unlikely one in my case) but the bottom line is, though the provisions of this bill are targeted at ‘rogue’ foreign sites, there is a fair amount of precedent for well-intentioned laws to be abused. The provisions of SOPA (and the matching Senate bill, PROTECT IP) go too far in their desperate quest to drive more money into the coffers of large media conglomerates. The Internet is the greatest invention in the history of humankind since the printing press, at least. Corporate greed should not be allowed to put an end to this wacky, wonderful, crazy thing that we’ve got here, with all its cats and rants and the bugs and the amazing people who create just for the sake of creating – can-fiction authors who know they’ll never see a dime, hilarious pweb videos and both the best and worst of the human race all put out there for everyone to see.
OK, so this wasn’t as short as I planned. Anyway, I stand in full support of Wikipedia, Google, Wired and more when I say these bills must be stopped.