Today is a great day for liberty. As I write this it is January 18th, 2012 and the Internet is ablaze with anger towards SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act). Not only was The Swash down in protest of these dastardly bills but Internet giants Wikipedia and Reddit were down as well. Shit, even Google participated in this blackout with a unique graphic on their page that lead to information about these two horrible laws and what you can do to fight them.
I was more than ecstatic today when I signed into my Facebook account and was overwhelmed by all the people who blacked out their own photos and had status updates and links protesting SOPA and PIPA plastered all over the home page. The impact of this protest is literally reaching further than any other online protest I’ve ever witnessed or been a part of. In fact, in just a few short hours, the tide has turned and the pimps pushing this law are now starting to run like the two-faced pandering bastards they are. I guess when you shine a little light the cockroaches scatter.
One of my favorite punching bags, Marco Rubio – the Republican senator form my home state of Florida, was a co-sponsor on one of these evil bills but he has now come out against it. This is because Rubio is a dickbag, a panderer and a wolf in Tea Party clothing. This “noble” act doesn’t excuse the fact that he co-sponsored PIPA and was also a champion for the insanely tyrannical NDAA bill, which just passed recently. Don’t get excited and let Rubio fool you, when this dies down, he’ll help reintroduce the bill with a few modifications and continue on his fascist path.
Conservative darling Paul Ryan just wrote this status update on his Facebook:
The Internet is one of the most magnificent expressions of freedom and free enterprise in history. It should stay that way. While H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act, attempts to address a legitimate problem, I believe it creates the precedent and possibility for undue regulation, censorship and legal abuse. I do not support H.R. 3261 in its current form and will oppose the legislation should it come before the full House.
While that sounds all fine and dandy, Mr. Ryan doesn’t fully oppose the idea of the bill and chances are, if it was tweaked and the opposition towards it died down, he may just very well vote for it.
Senators Jim DeMint, Robert Menendez and others have come out against this tyranny. Another co-sponsor, Arizona congressman Ben Quayle has withdrawn his support. Freedom fighter and libertarian leaning Michigan congressman Justin Amash continues to speak out against this, as does Kentucky senator Rand Paul and his father, Texas congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul.
The opposition to these bills has grown so quickly in the last several hours that six Republican senators wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The letter states:
We have increasingly heard from a large number of constituents and other stakeholders with vocal concerns about possible unintended consequences of the proposed legislation, including breaches in cybersecurity, damaging the integrity of the Internet, costly and burdensome litigation, and dilution of First Amendment rights.
For those of you who have been in the dark, I’ll break down what these bills are. In a nutshell, what they are supposed to do is to protect copyrighted material and eliminate piracy. What they actually do is a different story.
Basically, these bills give the entertainment industry the power to censor the Internet and breed a whole new type of crony capitalism while forcing us into a digital police state. You see, private corporations want to be able to choose what can and cannot be censored on the Internet. These corporations are trying to protect their property, which is understandable, and since the Internet is a bastion for downloading music and movies, they want to be able to tighten their grip and control how the whole system works. Considering that many of the sources for this copyrighted material exists outside of United States jurisdiction, these laws are being put in place to give the government and their corporate buddies an easier way at stopping copyright infringement. Again, that is understandable but the methods about doing this are just awful.
The first thing that this does is it gives the power to United States based ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to have special access at blocking infringing domain names. This also gives companies the power to sue websites, bloggers or whoever until they remove links or information directing Internet users to anything that they deem as infringed upon property.
Secondly, the government and their corporate pals would also be given the power to cut off funds to any websites that they believe are infringing on copyrights. Essentially, they can forcibly cancel infringing websites accounts with financial services and advertisers.
Now even though this all may seem somewhat proactive, one has to look at what actually constitutes copyright infringement. The description that they provide is so broad that if you technically upload a video to YouTube and there happens to be a piece of a song playing in the background, even if it’s just on the radio while you’re talking to the camera unaware of it, you have just infringed on copyrighted material and could face some serious penalties. This is just a small example but think of all the things you come across on the Internet on a daily basis that could technically be considered as copyright infringement. Violations are pretty much fucking everywhere! Hell, the whole Internet is a violation!
Besides all that, if there is a will there is a way. These laws won’t stop Internet users from finding music and movies to download illegally. In fact, even if a URL is blocked, an Internet user can still access the site via its IP address. Hell, this might start a revolution in web browsing and millions of digital pirates will be navigating the Net with IPs as opposed to typical URLs.
Another thing to mention is that these laws are incredibly bad for business. Essentially, they will cripple and stifle startups as corporations will have the power to sue any company that they feel isn’t properly protecting their interests. In a classic case of crony capitalism or corporatism, this allows the giants to stay on top, where they can look down and crush any growing company that may become a viable competitor for their business. Basically, these bills will create and perpetuate monopolies. When large corporations have the power to bankrupt new search engines and social networking sites, there really isn’t room for growth or innovation. We might as well just go back to the days of dark dingy uninspiring chat rooms.
The scariest thing that these laws will do is tamper with the Internet as a whole from the backend. By messing around with the Internet’s vast registry of domain names we could very well end up with a World Wide Web that is less stable and less secure. At the end of the day, these laws won’t stop piracy, as they claim and they will just create an environment for a new type of corporatism while leaving the Internet less secure and less reliable than it has ever been.
The Internet has already become a playground for government and corporate meddling. Hell, they already have laws in place to protect copyright infringement yet they want to push the envelope as far as they can. As of right now, the government and corporations already have the power to block any site just off of one infringing link. Social media giants like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube and others are now forced to censor their users because if they don’t, they become liable for the material their users upload and could be forced to shut down. On top of that, an ordinary Internet user could already be sentenced to prison for up to five years just for posting any copyrighted material – this includes someone like Tay Zonday who became an Internet sensation for singing pop song covers.
This situation is incredibly fucked up and it is just one more battle in a long line or tyrannous laws that the government is trying to impose on us. Just add this ingredient to the same bowl of tyranny punch that already consists of the PATRIOT Act, NDAA, indefinite detention, Homeland Security, the TSA, previous Internet censorship, FEMA, etc. The list goes on and on and hopefully people’s distrust in government has grown to the point that all future legislation the tyrants bring forth will be scrutinized and passionately opposed as much as SOPA and PIPA.
In the end, we’ve got to chain these bastards’ feet to the grill and turn up the fire until they do what we say because frankly, that’s their damn job.