So I’m pretty sure that if you’ve been anywhere near a web-connected computer in the last few months you may have heard about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a bill that will cripple the internet in an attempt to keep an extra few bucks in the pockets of media companies. I’m not really going to get into specifics, but here’s an awesome video explaining the bill.
I think it’s pretty important that you watch that video to get informed.
In a nutshell, if SOPA passes, the government could (under the accusation that a website harbors copyright infringing content) blacklist websites through DNS blocking, so typing in a site’s url will not lead you to a site.
This doesn’t remove the allegedly infringing site from the internet, just makes it incredibly difficult to find, as it will no longer appear in search engines, and cannot be visited unless it’s IP address is typed into your browser’s address bar.
What this means is that “evil” sites can still be accessed by “evil” people, while the rest of the less technologically literate world will not be able to access the web as easily.
The real issue, however, is that this nonsense will cripple the internet as we know it. Not just harboring infringing content can get a site blacklisted, just linking to it can.
You know what links to potentially harmful sites? Search engines. Major search engines such as Google, bing, yahoo, etc could be blocked, and news aggregators like Reddit and Digg could be blocked as well.
Hey, guess what else can potentially link to infringing content? Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, DeviantArt, Photobucket, Imgur… See what I’m getting at?
If the potential catastrophic fallout from SOPA isn’t bad enough, the fact that the people voting on it have no idea how the internet works should be enough to drive you up a wall.
There’s been an online stream of the SOPA debates, of which I watched a 7 hour block of. By the end of that… ordeal… I was googling what height I would need to jump from to kill myself.
Here’s an excerpt from the debate. This is paraphrased, so if exact wording isn’t the same, don’t beat me up:
Some lady is speaking about the bill, and towards the end of her piece, she mentions another representative (who wasn’t present at the current debate) who was “surfing the internet” and “not paying attention” at their last meeting. She concluded that the representative’s actions were “offensive.”
At this point, another representative (who did not have the floor) called out to say that the lady revise her statement. Apparently the guy was upset that one of his comrades was called offensive. The lady was asked to revise her statement and, initially, did not.
After some arguing, the lady asked for legal counsel to decide whether or not it would be a good idea to change her testimony. She was granted a ten minute recess.
After TEN FREAKING MINUTES OF EVERYONE PUTZING AROUND the lady revised her statement from “offensive” to “discourteous.”
Are. You. Kidding. Me? All told, this whole interaction took about 20 minutes, all to change the record to say that someone was being “discourteous” rather than “offensive.” This is how congress works? THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO DECIDE THE FUTURE OF THE INTERNET? ARE YOU FUCKING JOKING?
I’ve been trying to cut down on my cursing here, but SERIOUSLY? I feel as though every senator and representative that votes to pass SOPA should not be elected again at the end of their terms. If you’re of voting age (and live in the US) watch closely how your representative votes. If you’re not of voting age, do it anyway and inform your relatives.
In the meantime, here’s a link to petition to get the white house to veto SOPA. As of this writing, it still needs 10,000 signatures to reach it’s 25,000 signature goal.
I want to write more about this, but it’s 1am and I’m super tired, and I have to wake up early cause a package is being picked up from my apartment tomorrow so… I’ll end this right here. Nighty night everyone! Sorry for being all angry and stuff!