By Brian Ries
(Originally posted here.)
(Editor Note: The reason our background of the united States of America Flag has been removed and turned black is because of these bills that Congress is reviewing to grant additional censorship powers to “The State”.)
Shutdowns, blackouts—Wikipedia, Google, Reddit, and a host of other websites are staging a protest today against two ambitious anti-piracy bills, SOPA and PIPA. Organizers from Reddit and Cheezburger share their battle plan with Brian Ries.
Ben Huh is fired up.
The 33-year-old Internet entrepreneur, who oversees a popular Seattle-based network of cat-heavy comedy blogs known as Cheezburger, is hours away from the biggest day of direct action in his life.
On Wednesday, Huh’s sites, to be joined by Google, Reddit, Wikipedia, WordPress, MoveOn.org, and hundreds more, will participate in an online protest—a strike, no less—that aims to call attention to two bills snaking their way through Capitol Hill.
Some sites will shut down. Others will black out, redirecting users to a landing page with resources to learn more about the bills and contact an elected representative. Google, for its part, smacked a big black bar over its logo on the U.S. homepage.
By doing so, the participating websites hope to send a clear message to the millions of users who rely on them every day. “We want them to understand how this could impact their rights and free speech, and how this is going to kill jobs in one of the few bright spots on the economy, which is the Internet,” Huh explained to me excitedly over the phone from his Seattle office on Tuesday afternoon. “And we want them to call their senators and tell them to vote no on PIPA.”
The bills at the heart of the protest, the Protect IP Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), have raised the ire of the tech community for what’s being criticized as their broad, irresponsible language written, opponents say, by politicians hoping to please deep-pocketed copyright holders.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) initially introduced the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate in May 2011, which would give the Justice Department the power to take down copyright-infringing websites. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) then followed that up with SOPA on Oct. 26, 2011, for the House, also introducing sweeping anti-piracy legislation intended to empower the U.S. Department of Justice—-and copyright holders-—to fully crack down on websites that are suspected of hosting their copyrighted material.
The two bills’ various provisions, however, have since become lightning rods for critics who claim they ultimately would provide the tools for corporations to censor the Web. “Like many businesses, entrepreneurs and web users, we oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking American companies to censor the Internet,” Google said in its statement opposing the legislation.
“What we’re looking for is a diversity of responses. We need some people to shut down. We need some people to freak somebody out.”
Gizmodo provides an example: “If Warner Bros., for example, says that a site in Italy is [illegally sharing] a copy of The Dark Knight, the studio could demand that Google remove that site from its search results, that PayPal no longer accept payments to or from that site, that ad services pull all ads and finances from it, and—most dangerously—that the site’s ISP prevent people from even going there,” the tech blog explains. A full-on blackout.
Responding to criticism of SOPA, and news that it’s been shelved until next month, Smith reiterated his commitment to the bill in a statement Tuesday. “To enact legislation that protects consumers, businesses and jobs from foreign thieves who steal America’s intellectual property, we will continue to bring together industry representatives and members to find ways to combat online piracy,” he said. “I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to send a bipartisan bill to the White House that saves American jobs and protects intellectual property.”
Still, if opponents of the bills are to be believed, SOPA and PIPA would, essentially, threaten the existence of the Internet as we know it, which makes this fight a battle for its soul. And so the fight is on—with stakes far higher than a comedy guy like Cheezburger’s Huh can laugh at.
“We actually try and stay out of politics,” Huh said of life at his company, a network of humor sites that attracts upward of 17 million monthly readers, in search of far more puppies than policy.
“Surprisingly, people don’t like politics mixed with their humor,” he said. “We try to make sure we don’t sour their daily five minutes of happiness by throwing politics in there.”
So what changed? “The severity of the threat,” said Huh. “It was very clear that as this legislation started coming to light that this is going to undermine the very foundation of how the communal Web works.”
How does this effect the Carolina Patriots? If we post anything from anywhere that is not original content of ours – pictures, quotes, articles, even out takes of books (aka reference material) then “The State” can have us taken offline.
WordPress Internet Blackout
Protest on Web Uses Shutdown to Take On Two Piracy Bills
Firefox: Protect the Internet Now!
Whitehouse bucks Wikipedia, stays sponsor of Protect IP Act
Wikipedia – Gone for the day!
My letter to Senator Lindsey Graham on the subject:
We in South Carolina know how much you Hate our Constitution and our Rule of Law with each and every bill you support in the Senate. We can tell from your voting record that you side with Barack Hussein Obama II in your political views.
I know this is a complete waste of time in writing your closed-minded Democrat Party brain, but here goes anyhow.
SOPA and PIPA would put the burden on website owners to police user-contributed material and call for the unnecessary blocking of entire sites. Small sites won’t have sufficient resources to defend themselves. Big media companies may seek to cut off funding sources for their foreign competitors, even if copyright isn’t being infringed. Foreign sites will be blacklisted, which means they won’t show up in major search engines. SOPA and PIPA would build a framework for future restrictions and suppression.
In a world in which politicians regulate the Internet based on the influence of big money, Wikipedia — and sites like it — cannot survive.
Congress says it’s trying to protect the rights of copyright owners, but the “cure” that SOPA and PIPA represent is worse than the disease. SOPA and PIPA are not the answer: they would fatally damage the free and open Internet.
Do not support Censorship – You have already voted to rid us of the 4th, 5th and 10th amendments in our Constitution. It is a shame you and Juan McCain are working to kill the 1st Amendment too.