Tomorrow, we will join thousands of websites, including sites like Reddit, Wikipedia, and WordPress.org, in a 12-hour protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). These pieces of proposed legislation claim to target online piracy, but instead threaten free speech, paving the way for corporations and our government to effectively control what we read and publish online.
These sites will be on strike tomorrow, January 18th, from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM Eastern Standard Time:
A few words from our bloggers:
“The internet has forever changed the way human beings share and discuss information. The free flow of information and opinion that was once easily controlled by corporate-owned media is now available, unfiltered, to anyone with access to a wireless connection. While it’s not surprising that corporations would want their power back, we absolutely can’t allow them to use our legislature to make that happen. As manga fans, we’re probably more aware than most of just how complex the issue of online piracy is, both for publishers and fans. It’s part of our regular discourse, and many of us have fought bitterly on one side or another—sometimes even both. We know there’s no simple solution, but even if there was, bypassing due process is not an acceptable means of achieving it.” – MJ, Manga Bookshelf
“Like millions of Americans, I support the basic goals of SOPA and PIPA: to end intellectual property theft, and prevent the distribution of counterfeit products here in the United States. As currently written, however, the bill gives the Department of Justice, businesses, and copyright holders sweeping powers to block or remove content from the Internet without allowing the offending website owner to respond to the charges. Due process is a fundamental part of the American legal system, and should be reflected in the wording of this act!” – Katherine Dacey, The Manga Critic
“The most aggravating thing about these proposed bills is not even the draconian threats of the entire internet being subject to the whims of multinational corporations with a grudge to settle – it’s that it would not even work, not one iota, in stopping the piracy that it is alleged to be protecting against. There are many, far more sensible ways to combat piracy on the Internet. SOPA and PIPA, however, are there to let politicians say “Look, we tried, see?” and allow Universal Music Group and others of its ilk to shut down anyone they like, regardless of proof of guilt. Big Business is trying to control your internet. Don’t let them.” – Sean Gaffney, A Case Suitable for Treatment
Learn More: Watch the video · American Censorship page · View the Infographic · Read SOPA on OpenCongress · Read PIPA on OpenCongress
Lorin saysJanuary 18, 2012 at 6:00 am
Thanks for joining the strike! It’s great to see so many sites and individuals come out against these bills.
Melinda Beasi saysJanuary 18, 2012 at 8:28 am
I hope it has an impact!
Sara K. saysJanuary 19, 2012 at 8:42 pm
Another cheer for the strike! Death to SOPA and PIPA.
And I not only do I think that SOPA and PIPA will fail to prevent piracy, I think they actually promote it. I think legal mechanisms alone cannot significantly reduce piracy. To really reduce piracy, you need to change the culture. The culture where piracy flourishes is a) a culture where people regularly sacrifice their principles for the sake of money and b) a culture where corruption is accepted. The people who are promoting SOPA/PIPA are not doing it because they feel sad for the creators – they are doing it because they are trying to squeeze more money. Furthermore, they are bribing *ahem* I mean lobbying Congress to get this through. When bribing/lobbying elected officials is so conventional that people hardly react at all when they read/hear about it, those same people are not going to think that piracy is wrong.
There is way more piracy in East Asia than in the United States. This is partially because much of East Asia, for much of the 20th century, suppressed freedom of speech, and piracy was the only way to get many books/comics. As the people of South Korea and Taiwan enjoyed greater freedom of speech, piracy was actually *reduced* (it’s NOT a coincidence that the first manga were legally licensed in Taiwan around the same time that Taiwan had its first free and fair elections). Even today, there is a heck of a lot of corruption in South Korea and Taiwan, and there is still a heck of a lot of piracy. I have been shocked at how many Taiwanese people I’ve talked to say it’s okay to cheat on tests at school (but then, I’ve also been shocked at some of the attitudes of my fellow Americans since I’ve left the United States … so cheating is probably more accepted in American culture than I previously realized).
So, if the corporate managers want to stop piracy (I say ‘corporate managers’ instead of ‘corporations’ because a) corporations are not people and b) if corporations were people, they would victims because their managers are working for their own interest, not the interest of the corporations) , I suggest they first clean up their own house by ceasing to corrupt the government, start treating society with respect, and obeying the law themselves. Then, when they ask people to respect copyright law, a lot more people would listen to them.