Hey Everyone Smitty here!
Digital Daily Fix has said very little about SOPA, which is odd with how much of a potential impact it could have on what we do here. With that being said the internet sustained a great victory today with news of what is going on with SOPA and PIPA though the simple idea of what these two laws COULD have done has gotten the world set ablaze with anger, anger so powerful that it has gotten one of our occasional contributors Leann Watts verbal weapons at the ready to inform and entertain us, as well as unleash the hounds of hell upon those in support of these laws. So with that said please take the time to enjoy what is the possible first in an ongoing editorial series we like to call “Watts Wrong With You?” with Number 1 putting the focus on SOPA.
SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) is the political movement of our generation. Oil wars, terrorism, Occupy…trifles, compared to the chaos that will surely ensue should this atrocity stick. This tangled web of legislative hokum is, essentially, rewriting the Constitution and robbing us of our very basic right to free speech and freedom of expression, turning the Internet into a dark, pointless and risky endeavor. At first glance, it seems justified and relatively harmless (“Ooo, piracy’s bad, we need to get a real handle on that one.”), but anyone who actually bothers to read the bill (and it’s becoming evident that the majority of our Congressmen/women haven’t), can see that it’s completely ridiculous!
First of all, the bill doesn’t incriminate only those sites that are created purely for the purpose of piracy, it goes after ALL sites that have only the possibility of enabling copyright infringement; this means Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Gmail, Urban Dictionary, Wikipedia, any forum, any in-game chat…anywhere you can upload a picture, express your individual thoughts or ideas will be in the proverbial cross hairs. Search engines, too (Google, Bing, Yahoo), will be penalized just for listing these sites in your search, and will be forced to remove them from the list, rendering them pretty much obsolete. Also, any ad or payment providers for these sites will be forced to end business with them, losing thousands of dollars in the process.
Secondly, the bill explains that if this “law” is broken, the copyright holder can make a claim against whichever site is in the wrong, and the ad & payment providers will have to terminate business with said site within five days. However, the bill says nothing about notifying the offender of the infringement within those five days…or at all. Conveniently enough, the only way for a site owner to combat this claim is to produce a counter-notice (which, how could they when they were never even notified that there was an issue in the first place?), which now opens them up to be completely obliterated by the twists and turns of this bill that were industriously created to catch all “offenders.”
P.S. The “law” also states that should you produce a counter-notice stating that your site is not in violation (and it’s almost impossible to NOT be), now you’ve committed perjury and not only are you going to prison for a minimum of three years, it states that you are now responsible for all of your accusers legal fees. COOL!
Several major social networks have already stated that should this bill pass, they will shut down their sites, permanently. And who could blame them? Big dogs, like Facebook, have far too many users to police, and why should they take any of the fall for one user posting a picture of her wearing a “Bieber Fever” t-shirt?
The only major supporters for SOPA are The Motion Picture Association (shock), various recording artists (double shock) and old people in charge who are too afraid of the internet to try to understand what it is and what it can do for us. All they see is “Piracy. Bad. Must put the kibosh on that. What’s this electronic mail all about?” Like any Hollywood starlet really needs another damn handbag. As if downloading “Bad Romance” is truly keeping Lady Gaga from buying another ugly and confusing headdress. Pandering to the complaints of the movie and music businesses when they don’t generate even a third of the revenue that the internet does, is absurd!
Furthermore, most copyrights don’t even belong to the artists, they belong to some faceless, money mongrel, the artists aren’t even the one’s losing money from piracy, corporations are! Copyrights are only supposed to last for so long anyway, after a certain period of time; they’re meant to go to the public, but that’s not what’s happening.
If this bill passes, as it is written now, it will (1) give the rights to censor both foreign and domestic websites exclusively to the Government (because the arrogance of old fools spans the seas), (2) give copyright holders the right to dismantle the finances of these sites by threatening their advertisers and pay providers, as well as, prosecute website owners, AND OPERATORS (this means you), if those websites happen to have any features which allow users to post content protected by copyright laws, in part, or in whole. And (3) turn us all into criminals by making copyright infringement a felony offense…A FELONY!
As in any revolution, the innocent are being dragged down with the guilty; what’s worse, it won’t even be effective. Passing this “law” won’t stop online piracy; Pirates are a step ahead of the technologically impaired, and ten steps ahead of the narrow-minded sods in Congress. The only thing they would accomplish is social unrest leading to anarchy, because that’s what happens when you try to edit-undo hundreds of years of a basic civil right!
Check out a fancy printer friendly version of this debacle of a bill HERE!
If at any time the link above does not work you can find the copy by googling “library of congress SOPA”