Wikipedia went dark today in protest at the SOPA and PIPA bills before the US House and Senate. Two of the biggest Social Media players, Facebook and twitter did not take their sites down. Twitter was quoted as not wanting to deny access to millions of its users who do not live in the USA. Google had a comment on its home page.
I am not an American resident and not completely familiar with all the possible ramifications of these bills should they become law.
What I do know is that the internet, blogging and social media would never be the same again if these bills are passed.
For a good explanation of what this could mean to every internet user check out Donny Michel’s post at
A a baby boomer and conservative, I am all in favour of protecting copyright holders interests and incomes. It is not right that pirates can make a fortune off someone else’s talents by breaking the law. I believe that copying music and movies for passing on to friends is the same as shoplifting or other kinds of theft. But I do not think that providing the government with the ability to throw someone in jail for 5 years because they innocently posted a video of their child dancing to some pop stars music on You Tube is either sensible or necessary.
Nor is it reasonable to hang the sword of Damocles over service providers, search engines and advertisers. Threatening them into closing down websites and businesses on the faintest suspicion of wrongdoing with no recourse if they are later found to have acted without justification.
It is like using a whole artillery regiment to pound a suspected enemy position into oblivion when a few good snipers would be more effective. The collateral damage would be enormous, many innocent bystanders would be hurt and the immediate environment devastated.
I am not a legal expert, but I have suffered more than most at the hands of a government that got away with changing legislation to deprive citizens of their property and unleash a campaign of violence against those who resisted. This legislation smells so badly of Big Brother Government that all of us who value our freedom need to wake up and do what ever we can to oppose it. This is just the thin end of the wedge, if this passes, what next?
Why as a non-resident of the USA am I concerned? Because America is still the centre of the electronic universe, all my websites are hosted by US corporations, the big social media players are all based in the USA. If these bills are passed, the internet and social media will change drastically for the whole world, not just the USA.
A further worrying factor is that Hollywood seems in favour of the bills, it’s always suspicious when the movie industry and government are in cahoots, normally they are poles apart. Like with the global warming and oil sands media frenzy, more hype than substance.
Go ahead and get more of the details, find out how you or your family could be affected, check out Donny’s article here.
Wishing you success in all your endeavours.
p.s A strange thing happened with my last post, when I hit “publish” I got an error message, the post appeared to have published correctly, but when I came back to the site this morning, the title had disappeared, it is now corrected, my apologies.
Free Sopa graphic from Fearlessfosdick on Deviant Art