Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Day the Net Stood Still

Wikipedia goes dark.

Google censors its logo.

Reddit is down..

Wired redacts its content.

SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, and PIPA, the Protect IP Act, are two pieces of legislation designed to handle Internet piracy by making it easier for federal authorities to remove suspected pirated content from the Internet. The bills would make it difficult for sites operating outside of the United States to distribute copyrighted materials such as movies and music. Critics charge these bills go over and above what they were designed to do and impose a de facto censorship on copyrighted materials.

The bills would extend not only to torrent sites like The Pirate Bay, but to personal blogs (like this one). See, I use images cobbled from the Internet. These copyrighted photos were shot by someone else and intended for use elsewhere. Yet the amorphous, free-flowing structure of the Internet allows users (such as yours truly) to scoop up and use these images at my own folly, and thus post an image of President Obama blowing a wolverine or Christine O'Donnell sacrificing a goat.

Now I'm all for people, especially artistic hipster douchebag types, getting paid. One less hipster douchebag out on the street in a Guy Fawkes mask is a good thing.

Yet I can't abide by the way SOPA and PIPA were written, in such a heavy-handed fashion.

Under SOPA and PIPA, this blog would be censored. The federal nannies would swoop in, cut out the images that were copyrighted...without due process.

In protest, sites like Wikipedia, Google and Reddit have gone dark to raise awareness of SOPA and PIPA and the effect it would have on daily Internet use.

As long as the blackout doesn't effect, my afternoon should be golden.

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