Like PIPA (Protect IP Act), SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) is a vaguely written bill that poses a much greater threat to individuals, artists, small businesses, and tech entrepreneurs than to the actual perpetrators of online piracy. It would, in perhaps oversimplified terms, enable corporations and ISPs to control what websites we can and cannot visit based on perceived threats or shortcomings they present under a piece of legislature that is simply too broad, and was written without sufficient expert consultation. Although amendments are being proposed to diffuse some of this oversight, they are only serving to convolute and destabilize a bill whose foundation is poorly constructed.
You can follow the debate live as it takes place at http://keepthewebopen.com/sopa. For those who don’t want to wade through pages of convoluted legislative language or listen to politicians bullshit each other, this article covers some of the basics as well as the sort of collateral damage they would cause and why they are ineffective, and this article approaches the issue from a free speech vs copyright perspective.
However you decide to educate yourself on the matter, please consider raising your concerns directly with your representatives. Regardless of how likely or unlikely it is to pass, they need to hear from us, and they need to know that such propositions are unacceptable.
This is a monumentally important issue that requires your action if you value all that the internet has to offer. In particular, if you want artists and creators who make their livelihood online (like me) to continue to function in a free, uncensored environment, please write to your representative. This is not a time for apathy.
Let’s try something! I made the above image and the intellectual property it represents: a weird turtle-monster thing. I, Evan Dahm, am putting this particular image and this monster thing into the PUBLIC DOMAIN. YOU are free to use it, copy it, claim it as your own, rework it, or do…