Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A comic about SOPA, a message against fascism

Surviving the World: Lesson #1267 - Where The Power Lies (A Comic About SOPA)
SOPA, for those who those who haven't been paying attention to tech and news websites (because it certainly hasn't been on the news networks), stands for Stop Online Piracy Act. It's a bill currently sitting in the House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee and possibly heading to the House floor for a vote soon that would - if passed by both the House, the Senate, and signed into law by President Obama - give the government the power to shutdown websites, any websites, that even so much as linked to a torrent or an illegal file on a file hosting website. When I say the government can shutdown a website that violates this potential law, I don't just mean a blog on Blogger or a Tumblr. The text of the bill is so vague, that the government would have the power to shutdown Blogger or Tumblr or the site's host itself. SOPA is actually so extreme, even Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have been vocal against it, which is both telling and kind of screwed up, considering the kind of authoritarian bullshit they've supported in the past.

Not surprisingly, the culprits behind this are the usual suspects: the movie and music industries. Yes, the MPAA and RIAA are so desperate to keep people from downloading the latest Lady Gaga or Lil Wayne album (despite the fact that it's been shown that a lot of people who pirate music end up buying the same music legally) or whatever crappy comedy they stick Michael Cera in, that they're willing to basically kill the internet. This isn't about net neutrality, this is about protecting the greatest achievement in communications since Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.

The larger problem is that like I said before, the bill's text in vague and while I don't like to dip my cup in the same Kool-Aid the tinfoil hat conspiracy theorists are drinking, it could easily be used to squash dissent, especially of the Occupy variety. Obviously, the chances of that happening are as likely as Justin Beiber being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but it still lingers there.

If you want to try and help stop this bill, the best thing you can do is write your Congressmen. It sounds cliched, sure, but what other option is there? Check this thread on reddit to find out who your Congressman is and how to contact them.

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