Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Great American Censorship Firewall

SOPA is set to pass on Thursday (12/15/2011) which will change the face of the internet as we know it. Most people do not understand the incredible complexities of copyright law, and the simple fact is that nearly all of us are in breach of these laws every day. Simply uploading a video to YouTube with a movie poster on the wall or music playing in the background is infringing if you do not have permission. Once SOPA is passed and the safe habor for internet and service providers is eliminated, you will find these player filtering and censoring most stuff you try to post: if they even still allow it.

This might sound apocalyptic, but there are many cases today of companies over reaching or removing content without even verifying it is in fact infringing. Now add to that SOPA which would block IPs, poison DNS records, require removal from search results and basically remove any content for any reason without ANY OVERSIGHT OR VERIFICATION. Someone simply has to accuse you of something and your business, your likelihood, your opinion will be wiped clean. This will ruin small businesses and mean only large companies with the ability to sue other large companies will survive.

Don't believe me? Do a search for Dajaz1.com and read about it. They were taken down a year ago (without SOPA) and had no recourse to get their business back until the government just decided to release it.
How about MegaUpload who got permissions from several artist to create a song and viral campaign, but got removed several times from YouTube because of Universal Music Group complains via the DMCA. Now maybe UMG has reasons and some artist's have a change of heart (we won't know until the contracts come out in court); however, UMG also brought down videos from News organizations who only REPORTED ABOUT THE DISPUTE!
And finally my favorite (to the point) article about the impact of SOPA:
Regardless of what you thing about copyright law and piracy, allowing the government and large media companies to take down any content and sites without any judicial oversight does not make any sense. This is something out of science fiction stories depicting overreaching government and corporation control. This cannot be left alone. Please contact your elected officials and speak out against SOPA and Internet Censorship. Stop American Censorship (http://americancensorship.org/) has great tools that make this seamless and easy, as does the Electronic Frontier Foundation (https://www.eff.org/).

This is not just an attack on the internet, but our entire American Culture!