Generally I am not a very politically aware or involved person, the issues just feel way too big for me to either grasp or influence. But this gets me where I live and work. Whilst I am sickened by the piracy of copyrighted content, two pieces of legislation currently pending in the American House and Senate (known as SOPA and PIPA) are disproportionate and ill-thought out in their proposed response, and will permit uncontrolled actions against sites – and will no doubt themselves be abused grossly. They also apparently include features which could de-stabilise the internet generally.
“(The bill) contains provisions that will chill innovation. It contains provisions that will tinker with the fundamental fabric of the internet. It gives private corporations the power to censor. And best of all, it bypasses due legal process to do much of it.” James Allworth, Harvard Business School
Under the proposed legislation, it appears this blog could be shut down by James Allworth or The Harvard Business Review if they objected to my quoting his article just now – and my blog would get shut down first on their mere say-so, and only after I initiated proceedings and fought (and paid for) a battle through the courts, could I be vindicated and the site opened again. Imagine the scope for malicious activity there!
Click on the black ribbon on the top right of the blog page which will be displayed until 24 January when votes will take place in Congress. Clicking will take you to the Stop American Censorship website to learn more about the proposals in the US House and Senate and how they could impact us all if passed. The site also includes petitions and action steps for those who vote in America.
Another good video I found (thanks for the tipoff, Escape the City!!)
Update 19 Jan: we had an effect: read this article in the New York Times-International Herald Tribune about the impact Internet based protests had on legislators and their opinions, but we need to keep the pressure going. Follow the link to the Stop American Censorship website to learn more, and if you vote in America, they have mechanisms on that site to send a message to your representatives in Congress to express your opposition to the proposed legislation.