I don’t know a lot about the internet or what is permissible or not with respects to content. Nor am I a huge fan of cause celebre. I will admit that I didn’t have a clue what the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act, SOPA and PIPA respectively, was, that are about to be debated and ultimately voted on in Congress over the next week or so.
All I do know is this: a lot of people are not in favor of these two pieces of legislation because both would impose a considerable amount of censorship and/or limit the use of the internet. I think it’s important that to provide what the actual bills say, verbatim, courtesy of Thomas, the official congressional resource site, operated by the Library of Congress, one of the best resources to find and read bills.
Several thoughts from me: There are those who have chosen to put their websites in black or use a form of a black ban in support against these bills. I respect that, but for me personally, I am not going “black” on this blog. First of all, I don’t know how to put anything in “black”, and I feel that by continuing to blog, without blocking anything, this is my personal way of voicing my concerns about the bills.
I do feel that there is bipartisan support and bipartisan dissent against these bills. Don’t believe me? Here’s this and this as evidence. Tell me how many Dems and Repubs are co-sponsoring SOPA and PIPA? Yeah, that’s what I thought. As the great basketball website Rush The Court tweeted last night:
Best part of SOPA/PIPA discussion: both bills have bipartisan support/dissent, so no reflexively blaming the party you don’t like.
Amen to that.
Second of all, they have to debate these bills before they can vote on it. Education and explaining the ramifications of what these bills could do is vitally important than just saying “stop SOPA (or PIPA).” The disappointment is that many non-internet-savvy folks like me were not given much text about it. We were just told to send a message to our Congressmen and ask them to vote no against it.
I don’t send anything to anyone unless I read it and I understand what it means.
Earlier today, I tweeted the following, thanks to a Facebook post Tuesday night by great friend Phil James when Cat Rocketship and him mentioned the Motion Picture Association of America’s role in the internet bill debate:
You know, if we’re going to ask Congress not to pass SOPA/PIPA, how about going to the groups like MPAA and bang on them as well?
Only one person retweeted it. Look, it’s fine to bang on Congress, but who lobbied Congress to create and shape these bills? Who are the groups, individuals, and others who are pushing for the passing of SOPA and PIPA? The Motion Picture Association of America is one of them. Who else is in favor of the legislation? Apparently, there has to be more than the MPAA, law enforcement, and unions, right? So far, no one I know has offered or named these groups. I researched online to find these groups, but to no avail.
It should be a two-pronged approach: lobby to Congress to reconsider the bills, and to rally support against the powerful MPAA and others who are pushing it.
Look, there are individuals who abuse the privilege and use the internet for their unscrupulous agendas and plans. There are still hackers all across the world looking for attention by throwing a monkey wrench and blowing up someone’s website, blog, and whatever. Those are the jerks that need to be put in their place, but not at the expense of regular internet users who use common sense and do the right thing.
There are also those we call “flamers” who go to great lengths to shut a website down that they do not agree with or just to bring attention to themselves. Those jackasses should not be able to control and run the internet so that their view of the world can dominate and rule online.
If SOPA and PIPA are voted down, then it is up to not only Congress, but to those who understand the positive benefits of the internet and its usage, to work on stopping bad people from destroying the internet, so that all of us can use it for education, entertainment, and information.