The Webernets



The “Stop Online Piracy Act,” currently working its way through the U.S. Congress, would shut down the Internet as we know it. Don’t believe the misleading title; this bill wouldn’t just stop piracy… it would stop the Internet.

Here’s what the Washington Post wrote about it last week, via Demand Progress:

Imagine a country where the government is able to shut down Web sites at the slightest provocation, where elected representatives invoke fears of “overseas pirates” to defend the interests of domestic industries, and where Internet companies like Google must cave in to the demands of government censors or risk being shut down.

No, we are not talking about China, North Korea or Iran — we are talking about the United States, where legislators in both the House and Senate are attempting to push through new anti-piracy legislation by year-end that would benefit Hollywood at the expense of Silicon Valley.

…  The legislation is a ham-handed effort to shut down Internet piracy anywhere on the Web, but it confuses “piracy protection” and “censorship.” The bill also showcases a failure on the part of lawmakers to understand how the Internet works.

This is not being blown out of proportion; this is the truth. Sites like YouTube will be forced to go to unreasonably great length to police users’ contributions, and search engines like Google will have to drastically re-work their architecture to censor certain search results from appearing. A site like MetalSucks could be pulled down if a commenter decides to link to something we don’t have the rights to post, as innocuous as an album cover; it would be that easy. This bill would completely stifle innovation on the Internet, and would hamper the spread of innovation.

Yet the Stop Online Piracy Act and affiliated Protect IP Act actually stand a chance of passing through Congress. Send a letter to your local congressman by filling out the form here, which takes all of 15 seconds, telling them you oppose this legislation.

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