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My Anti-SOPA, Anti-PIPA Ramblings

My Anti-SOPA, Anti-PIPA Ramblings
Today is the day of the great internet eclipse with sites like Reddit and Wikipedia going completely dark from 8 to 24 hours in order to raise awareness about two horrible, terrible things that are moving through the House and the Senate here in the United States: SOPA and PIPA. I just want to make a quick post as to why I'm personally opposed to the two acts, specifically SOPA for right now.

SOPA and PIPA's goals are to ultimately stop piracy, and they are mostly crafted through lobbying by companies like the MPAA, RIAA, and the ESA. Do you think your average representative has enough knowledge of the internet and computers to draft something like this themselves? Of course not. To them, the internet is a big truck, or whatever the MPAA tells them it is that month.

The MPAA steps into congress and convinces them that they are in danger of being completely destroyed because of internet piracy. They claim to be losing jobs by the hundreds of thousands, and their profits are dropping, and it's all because of people downloading camera rips of Jack and Jill. (Just kidding, I don't think anyone pirated Jack and Jill.) Oh, and the MPAA's claims are mostly bullshit.

The result is congress drafting horrendous bills that are absolutely overkill, and that miss the point completely. Imagine the problem of piracy being a fly on your friend's face, and congress's response is to launch a nuclear warhead at the fly, thus annihilating your friend, you, and everything within a 50 mile radius.

SOPA, and PIPA, will not stop piracy.

But what they will do is harm people like me. I'm trying to make a living on the internet, like a lot of other people these days. Every day we see new and exciting ideas and starts up emerge right here on the internet because of its absolute freedom and fairness. Anyone can just buy a domain name, rent a server, and launch a website on their own, but SOPA and PIPA threaten this freedom.

For a cooler, more visual representation of the problem, I suggest watching this video.

Essentially SOPA and PIPA will make it so that me, the webmaster and owner of kpulv.com, is responsible for any content that appears on the site, including content that is posted by the users (like the comments section!) In a post SOPA or PIPA world, someone could post a comment on this blog post linking to a DVD rip of Independence Day, and as a result my domain name kpulv.com could be completely blocked by the United States. Note that all of this is without due process. There will be no questions asked, and the domain name will disappear. (Actually, SOPA might only be removing domains of "foreign" sites, but the fact that a internet censoring firewall would exist still remains.) On top of that, I could be sued by the entertainment industry for providing a link to pirated content, even though I wasn't the one that posted it.

The United States has lambasted China for implementing an internet firewall, saying it was a harsh blow to freedom of speech, and now they threaten to implement practically the same thing.

To survive in the post SOPA and PIPA world, internet entrepreneurs would have to go to great lengths to make sure that nobody is posting "illegal" content on their sites. It's not that big of a deal for a simple blog with just a little bit of traffic, but this prospect is very threatening to small business owners and start ups that operate on the internet with hundreds of thousands of visitors, and especially start ups that invite users to create content. Suddenly the cost of starting a business online is rising, and thus we start to see less and less competition as many people can no longer afford to launch their idea due to the cost of patrolling their own site for offending links or comments. If they choose not to take action against such content, they can be reported for not taking enough action, and lose their funding, ad revenue, potentially their domain name, or be sued by the entertainment industry, and with the current abuse we already see from the DMCA, I don't doubt that SOPA would also be abused in the same way.

I love the internet. It is my home. I grew up here, and I don't want to see anyone coming here and fucking it up. The MPAA has a long history of crying about things like Television, Betamax, the VCR, DVDs, and now it's the internet that is threatening to destroy them. It's scary when the world changes, but when you have billions of dollars you can just tell the U.S. Government to cripple the progress rather than evolve with it. Must be nice!

If you haven't yet, please sign some petitions or contact your representatives with your opinion on these two pieces of legislation.
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