Please oppose SOPA!

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Today I am taking a break from my usual fluff, and joining in the protest of SOPA (god bless Google and their blackout!). 

The Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) – as well as its Senate counterpart, the PROTECT IP Act (S. 968) is a severe campaign to control free speech on the internet.  Blogs, such as mine, could be derailed with threats to sue if a company disagrees with our opinions.  Also, any use of celebrity pictures, mention of movies etc could come under fire if the studios decide that a site has violated their copyright law by simply posting the picture or mentioning the movie.  Sites that promote individual expression, such as YouTube and Facebook could also be fined based on their users posts.  
The video below is an amazing explanation of just how this new law would hurt the internet, small businesses and blogs.  The website www.fightforthefuture.org  also has an online petition form, which I encourage you to sign.

Here is just a small example of some of our most influential writers who oppose this bill:
House leaders assured Silicon Valley they would correct serious defects in the Senate bill. Unfortunately, SOPA does just the opposite. . . . If passed, the bill would give media companies unprecedented new powers to shape the structure and content of the Internet.

Editorial, The New York Times: Going After the Pirates

Online piracy is the bane of the Internet. Still, bills proposed in the House and the Senate have overreached. The legislation needs to be tightened to protect intellectual property without hindering online speech and innovation.

Editorial, Los Angeles Times: Piracy vs. an open Internet

The potential result [of SOPA] is that fewer companies would try to create the next YouTube . . . And there would probably be a chilling effect on speech as sites block some fair uses of copyrighted content just to avoid ending up in court.

Rebecca MacKinnon, The New York Times: Stop the Great Firewall of America

Congress, under pressure to take action against the theft of intellectual property, is considering misguided legislation that would strengthen China’s Great Firewall and even bring major features of it to America.

David Carr, The New York Times: The Danger of an Attack on Piracy Online

Virtually every traditional media company in the United States loudly and enthusiastically supports SOPA, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for the rest of us. The open consumer Web has been a motor of American innovation and the attempt to curtail some of its excesses could throw sand in the works of a big machine on which we have all come to rely.

L. Gordon Crovitz, Wall Street Journal: Horror Show: Hollywood vs. Silicon Valley

These bills would go so far to protect copyright that they would strangle the Internet with regulation. The Web would be transformed from a permissive technology where innovation is welcome to one where websites are shut down first, questions asked later.

John Healy, Los Angeles Times: A bipartisan attempt to regulate the internet

[SOPA pushes stakeholders] even further apart. . . . There's consensus to be had on combating the likes of The Pirate Bay, but it's not to be found in HR 3261.

Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times: Big guns take aim at Web piracy

As Internet advocates and leading online companies have been pointing out, the measures have fatal shortcomings. They're so sloppily drafted that they would expose not merely "rogues" but largely innocent websites such as YouTube and Facebook — any site, in fact, that allows users to post content online themselves — to heavy-handed enforcement by government and private entities alike.

Harvard Business Review: The Great Firewall of America
There is the broader message America would be sending to the rest of the world: that it's OK for Governments to set up internet censorship apparatus.

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