I’m coming out of dormancy to sound an alarm at the behest of Daisy Deadhead and ballgame. These two friends of mine have sniped at each other at times but agree 100% on this: The Internet as we know and love it is in serious danger.
Congress is considering an atrocious act, PROTECT IP (S. 968)/SOPA (HR. 3261), that would enable censorship of any website that provides copyrighted material. Those sites could be summarily shut down at a judge’s order; they could only be restored through litigation, which is bloody expensive. Not only the big guys like Google, Facebook, and YouTube would be affected. Itty bitty startups could be stifled, and even humble catty blogs such as mine could be shuttered.
I once celebrated the end of a basement flood by playing “Bridge over Troubled Water” on my piano and posting it to Kittywampus 1.0 (the old Blogger version). Perhaps fortunately, the link to that stellar performance is dead (has Box.net stopped serving bloggers?). Were it still live, I’d be committing a copyright violation – not that I imagine Simon and Garfunkel give a rip. Every mommy blogger who posts her child singing Lady Gaga could be shut down. And what of all the copyrighted content that we routinely embed, from SNL to Jon Stewart?
Here’s the bottom line (from the video below):
The ugly details, including potential five-year jail sentences:
What to do? Spread the word through your blog, Facebook, or Twitter account. Bay at the moon. And contact your congresscritter. They’ve not gotten much pushback, so they need to hear from worried citizens. I just called all three of mine.
I hope to get back to more regular blogging once I get my workload under control. Let’s not allow the Internet to be broken in the meantime!
Update 11/16/11, 2:45 p.m.: Daisy has lots more detail on SOPA/PROTECT IP.