Why I Won’t Be Posting Tomorrow.
101 Books will be blacked out tomorrow, as I’ll be participating in the internet blackout against SOPA, which will also include sites like Wikipedia and Reddit. And, as such, I owe you an explanation.
If you’ve read the news at all in the last few weeks, you’ve probably heard about SOPA, which stands for the “Stop Online Piracy Act.”
It’s a proposed bill here in the U.S.that was designed mainly as a way to stop online pirating of movies and music. But the vagaries and far-stretching dirty little fingers of the bill could drastically change the internet forever, which would have consequences outside of U.S. borders.
Of special note, sites like YouTube, WordPress (who hosts the blog of yours truly), Twitter, Facebook, etc. would be legally responsible for all content on all of their respective pages. That’s millions and millions and millions of pages with billions of people.
If one of you guys comes on to my blog and posts a link to a video that hasn’t gone through the legal copyright process, my blog could be shut down. Yeah, I could, of course, fight it—AFTER they shut me down. And we know how quickly government moves.
If I wanted to post a video of me singing my favorite Pearl Jam song (and you really wouldn’t want to see that, nor would I want to do that, but that’s beside the point), I could get five years in prison. I’m not making that up.
The problem is: SOPA (and its cousin PIPA) won’t fix the real issue—legitimate piracy concerns. It will drill the little guys like you and me, because companies like WordPress and Facebook and Twitter will all of the sudden have to become the social police.
You thought Facebook was all up in your business already? Oh, wait until the government makes them REALLY get up in your business. Congress is taking a sawed-off shotgun to online pirating, and the shrapnel is going to hit all of us who have nothing to do with online pirating. And you can probably forget about new online start-ups, like Twitter and Facebook in the last ten years. Because who wants to deal with all the government interference?
All in all, SOPA sucks. There’s so much more to this bill (read some excellent points from Sonia Simone at Copyblogger), and I’ll admit that I don’t understand it all.
But as a guy who makes his living as a writer, creating content every day, I think the spirit of SOPA and PIPA is the antithesis of everything I’ve spent doing in the last 10 years. If this bill passes, 1984 might be closer than we think.
So, that’s a long-winded way of saying 101 Books will be “blacked out” tomorrow.
Here’s an excellent infographic about how SOPA could affect you. Do something about it.
See you guys on Thursday.