Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Against SOPA and PIPA


If I knew how to block out this site on Jan. 18 in protest against SOPA and PIPA, two bills currently in the U.S. Congress that claim to be against internet piracy, I would do it. I am not in favour of piracy, though I have major issues with what media conglomerates have done to distort copyright laws world wide.

The problem I have with these bills is that they are too vague and too broad. While they may become a U.S. law, it will affect internet users and site owners beyond U.S. borders. As a commenter on Boing Boing (dark for the day) said, in order to stop piracy, we're going to outlaw the sea.

There is a lot of rhetoric on both sides of the issue, but I recommend this article in The Globe and Mail for a clear-eyed look at what the internet community is upset about. There is also this comment to the article, which talks about the lack of due process:
"A website (of a corporation, individual, what-have-you) is considered guilty as soon as they are accused. Only once the site is shut down or made inaccessible can they try to defend themselves.

"Given that the whole concept of "fair use" is still, after 300 years, being refined, someone could use something fairly and still be shut down (see lack of due process above)."
If you are in the U.S, I urge you to contact your Congressman and Senators and register your opposition. You can do this easily by going to or the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

UPDATE: Clay Shirky is one of the smartest people in the room when it comes to talking about media. I've read his books and been lucky to hear him speak in Toronto. Watch the video below to get a "big picture" explanation of what SOPA and PIPA are actually about.


Anand said...

US congress trying to change the meaning of internet which is against the vision of the founder of internet. I believe the basic idea of internet is to share ideas and thoughts without any Restrictions. "Please Do not try to impose a threat to this ocean of knowledge"

The Absurdist said...

Great video you added there Mark.

Here are two more comical takes on Sopa.

Downfall Parody (Hitler reacts to SOPA)

And an IRONIC Downfall Parody
(Hitler reacts to Downfall Parodies being taken down)

Arguably two of the most comical and informative “Hitler flips out to…” Downfall Parody videos created so far. (Careful though, they infringe on Constantin Film AG ownership & copyright of Downfall ;-P)

Mark Mayerson said...

Thank you for those videos. I really enjoyed them.

kinky_boot_beast said...

I had to black out my site manually - I edited the hex codes to 000000 and replaced my banner with an animated gif that faded out and displayed the text of the First Amendment, as well as adding relevant contact links.

You did the most important thing, though - getting people to talk about why SOPA and PIPA are bad news, and to motivate them to do something about it. The Shirky video is fantastic.

scrobTV said...

Why are you concerned about something unclear as how broad the bills are instead of something blatantly clear: How the very people and corporations who claim to fight Piracy funded and encouraged the use of Piracy Software specifically for copyright infringement themselves as presented in this video:
Yes DRM removal software too!