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January 17

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SOPA & PIPA Will Break the Internet

by Ann-Katrina

I’ve been reading a lot of hullabaloo about a couple things going on in Capital Hill right now and it all seems to center around SOPA and PIPA, Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act respectively.

You may not think this affects you because you’re just a reader or book blogger or whatever (to be honest, I didn’t think it affected me either), but believe it or not, it does.

Stop Internet Censorship

These two bills will basically give the government the right to deny access, for however long they feel like it, to any website it so chooses whenever it so chooses without prior warning or explanation to the website owner. That’s a generalization, but that’s essentially what it boils down to.

So, if you or one of your favourite bloggers were to link out to a website that was hosting something deemed to be pirated, access to the website that did the linking could be blocked. Just for linking to a site that MIGHT have pirated material on it. Heck, the blogger doesn’t even need to be the one to provide the link…it could be a commenter or guest author or a spambot.

Millions of people, especially small businesses, to include small publishing houses, indie authors, and bloggers in general, will be adversely affected by this. They won’t have the resources necessary to fight should their site (and livelihood) get shut down. They can have their payment processors* cut all ties with them. Oh, and they can be sent to prison for up to 5 years. (What due process?)

All over one little link.

Or if that doesn’t get you, how about the larger sites that have become a major part of your internet life? Sites like Google, or YouTube, or even Amazon or Barnes & Nobles. Yes, even these sites could be blocked because, guess what?, they allow user submitted content and should one of those users post an unseemly link in the forum or publish a video with a copyrighted song playing in the background, POOF goes the site.

To me, that’s just plain stupid and infuriating. Whoever came up with it (eh hem…RIAA, MPAA, major publishers, television networks, etc., I’m looking at you) needs to yank their heads from their rear ends and wake up. Breaking the internet is not the answer.

In protest, I’ve decided to join the likes of Reddit, Wikipedia, and WordPress and go dark tomorrow from 8AM through 8PM.

I urge other bloggers to join in and help spread the word to kill these two bills where they stand, for should they pass, blogging and socializing on the internet will become a lot less fun and a lot more like an unnerving dystopian novel. (I swear George Orwell must have been psychic.)

*If you sell digital goods, for instance your ebook, directly on your site, yes, this affects you, too.

Comments on SOPA & PIPA Will Break the Internet

  1. # sintah wrote on January 17, 2012 at 2:59 pm:

    OMG thats terrible! and so ridiculous its not even funny!

  2. # Ann-Kat wrote on January 17, 2012 at 8:50 pm:

    So ridiculous, but PIPA is still chugging along through legislation.

    Their aim is to stop piracy, but it will do nothing to affect it at all because the pirates have already figured out ways to circumvent it and only legitimate businesses, websites, and social media outlets will suffer.

    A sad time we live in, indeed.

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