...this website could disappear, along with many others you depend on.
I'm doubtless preaching to the choir here. We've been informing readers about the dangers of PIPA (the Senate's Protect IP Act) and SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act, as it's dubbed in the House) ever since they came out of committee. But if perchance you do NOT moan at the mere mention of these acronyms, I suggest you scroll down to earlier posts or mosey on over to Ars Technica by clicking here.
Wikipedia and other Internet leaders actually shut down on Wednesday January 18, 2012 -- hoping to to jolt readers into realizing where we're headed if Congress follows Big Money instead of its voters. Your calls and letters have scared them into reconsidering one provision of the bills (pertaining to DNS filtering), but that's it and it's not much. Both bills still give Hollywood the power to take down websites that they merely suspect of linking to offshore sites that may violate copyright. For example, if I happened to link to the BBC, and a Hollywood web-scrawler decided that something on the BBC Website violates copyright, they could take ME down.
POOF! No due process. No free speech. In the past I have described the consequences of these bills as "a China style Internet," but its actually much worse. China at least reserves the power to block Internet sites to its government. Our Congress would let ANY well-heeled copyright-holder shoot first and ask questions later. SOPA and PIPA thus not only trash the Bill of Rights but effectively dismantle the rule of law, by granting private entities god-like censorship powers.
I did not close for the day, figuring my scant elite band of readers would simply conclude I hadn't paid my bills. Plus, half of the site these days is devoted to mustering opposition to these lobbyist-authored, First-Amendment-flouting pieces of censorship legislation, so I'll just say say, CALL (do not email) YOUR CONGRESSMAN TODAY by tapping this link. (Next post will NOT be about SOPA or PIPA, I promise. Righteous Indignation will be shelved abd I'll go back to Poking Fun.)
P.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUVENILE BOASTS. Dunno how to prove it, but we may have been first (or among the first) to push the Twitter hashtag #stopSOPA -- urging its use in a post dated October 28, 2011. Even if I'm full of it, #stopsopa is a giant rolling snowball now. Get in on the action and use it.