The United States Congress is going to hold hearings on what could potentially be the U.S.’s first Internet censorship system. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) (related to the former senate version, the PROTECT IP Act) is being rapidly pushed through by corporate interests who hope it’ll slip by mostly unaware citizens without being noticed as extremely flawed. As the EFF summarizes, “SOPA could allow the U.S. government and private corporations to create a blacklist of censored websites, and cut many more off from their ad networks and payment providers.” While there’s nothing inherently wrong with businesses attempting to protect their copyrighted material (though that’s not to say that copyright law in the US is in great shape because it’s not), SOPA goes beyond simple copyright policing and into the dangerous territory of violating U.S. citizens’ right to freely express opinion.
AmericanCensorship.org recently put together a video recently that attempts to clearly explain what PROTECT IP (and now SOPA) intends to do and what damage it could do for U.S. innovation and creative development:
Due to the dangers this legislation poses to U.S. innovation and creative expression, I can’t help but throw in my support to American Censorship Day on November 16, 2011. Users who go to the base website on that day will see a “Stop Censorship” black box over the site logo, which will link them to information on how to contact their congressional representatives.
Regardless of whether you’re a blogger, writer, tech enthusiast, or general Internet user, this malicious legislation should worry you. Do your part to stop SOPA.
EFF: American Censorship Day is this Wednesday — And You Can Join In!
TorrentFreak: Perhaps The Copyright Industry Deserves Some Credit For Pointing Out Our Single Points Of Failure
BoingBoing: Internet giants place full-page anti-SOPA ad in NYT
Image via Wikimedia Commons