Some of you might have noticed that the site was dark yesterday in protest of SOPA and PIPA. Others may have noticed that my avatars on Facebook and Google+ changed to a </SOPA> tag. Still others may have been inundated with the many, many “blocked tweets” from us *SoCs.
The point is we want to kill the SOPA and PIPA bills before they can become law. Now, I’m not opposed to the idea behind the SOPA & PIPA bills: stopping online piracy. Piracy hurts the people that create the things we love. If developers don’t get money from selling games, they can’t make more games. It’s that simple. I will admit that in the past I’ve pirated things. I was a young and stupid teenager and I have changed my view on piracy. Now, if I can’t afford a game (or book/movie/CD/etc.) I want, which is most often the case, I just live without it until I can buy it.
The problem with SOPA and PIPA is that they don’t address the problem; they create more problems. Here’s a few:
- User Generated Content: Websites that thrive on user generated content would suddenly have to start monitoring all content before it’s posted. If a few infringing links got through, the site could get shut down. So websites would have to check links before they are posted. For a site like mine, that wouldn’t be a huge burden. Facebook, on the other hand… the need for manually checking content for infringing links would outpace the ability to check the content in about 30 seconds and then bye bye Facebook.
- Creativity: With the prospect that one claim of infringement (without evidence or due process) could potentially get a website blocked, why would anyone want to post something they created online?
- Legal Issues: Anyone with a website could become a target. Someone just has to make an infringement claim and *poof* there goes your website: blocked to all US users. And since a lot of the world follows the US on tech policies, it wouldn’t be long before your site gets blocked to all users, globally.
These are just a few of the problems with these bills. And what they amount to is censorship. Someone else gets to pick what we’re allowed to say and do online and we don’t get a voice.
And that, my friends, is wrong.
So do your part:
- Contact the politicians you need to and tell them to kill these bills.
- Don’t be part of the problem either: Don’t pirate things online.