Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lights Out.

Today, Wikipedia will go dark for 24 hours in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), which both threaten the nature of the Internet as we know it today and give the government entirely too much censorship power. (You can read my previous post on the subject here.) (You can read Wikipedia's official statement here.)

The way these proposed laws work is that anyone who holds a copyright can claim that a site is infringing on their copyright somehow, and that site gets shut down. No due process, no investigation, just flip a switch, goodbye. It will use the same censorship technology used in countries like China and Iran - technology that we were supposedly outraged about because it's so totalitarian and undemocratic. (Irony, I think they call that.)

Quite frankly, I think of all the sites I use on a regular basis (including this one) - I'm not sure there'd be anything left. Just a wasteland of pixels and memories. No blogs, no Pinterest, no Twitter, no Facebook, no Tumblr, no memes, no anything. Just a void. We'd be setting the clock back twenty years and stunting any future development. All ideas are built off other ideas. The Internet was meant for sharing and for satire. This law frowns upon sharing and satire and any idea that might be slightly derivative of another idea.

I've heard rumblings of other sites joining this protest, and quite frankly, I hope they do. I know it will cause a lot of inconvenience for that time period, but I think it needs to happen. I almost wish it would happen for longer than a day. I also wish the whole Internet would go down. People need to understand the ramifications of these bills and how fucked they really are. I heard a rumor that SOPA got shelved, but I've been unable to confirm it with a second source... and PIPA is still out there, and it's not much better.

Honestly, I think this is probably one of the most brilliant protest strategies I've ever heard of. People need to know how it will affect them. You think one day is bad? Wait and see what happens if these bills pass. It won't be ONE DAY. It will be permanent.

I don't even want to think about it anymore. I don't have much anger left, just a deep and profound sense of fear and sadness, mixed together. I also have hope. I have hope because people are realizing the magnitude of this, and speaking up. I have hope because people are paying attention. I have hope because there's a chance that, just once, we might be able to bring down the corporate machine.

For once, the government system that was set up "for the people, by the people" - might actually listen to the people.

And that victory would be bigger than any of this.


chimes said...

yesssssss i am really disappointed that google just put a little black box over its logo. i wish they would have blacked out. it would have crashed the internet, but that's KIND of the point.

Megs said...

I wrote my Congressmen. Unfortunately, one of my congressmen is Mark Pryor. He's...special.

Whatever. I wrote them. I also linked the oatmeal for about 5 seonds on my facebook until I thought about my mother in law watching an animated koala make love to an animated goat. I...couldn't face the consequences of that.

terra said...

It just amazes be how we can scoff at the limitations placed on the internet in places like China and then not blink when someone tries to do it hear. I don't get it. Politicians should really try to stop ruining our country.