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[personal profile] themegaloo
I've been relatively quiet on the SOPA/PIPA issues thus far, and I think in light of my current RAGE that needs to change. I am a constant user of the internet. The idea of not being plugged into the internet for at least (LEAST) a few hours every day is, frankly, horrifying to me. I spend a lot of time on LJ, facebook, twitter, and now tumblr. I read articles. I watch videos. I participate in fandom (from a largely lurker standpoint). I research costumes and work towards building them from store-bought pieces or the methods/materials needed to make them myself. I have google skills to make you weep. I shop online, I watch Netflix streaming both on my computer and on the TV. I purchase MP3's and ebooks. I have an iphone, I have had some sort of smartphone with internet access for the past few YEARS. I am online even when not on a computer. really a pointless list. Let's just take it as read that I AM LOST WITHOUT THE INTERNET.

Now let's talk about what SOPA/PIPA are proposing. If you have absolutely no idea, take about fifteen minutes and watch this video. Seriously, it's a good break-down. You will come away from it with a lot more knowledge. I object to pretty much everything within these proposed bills, but I'm going to break down the why's for a minute here. Here are some of the things they're planning to do in the effort to stop internet piracy:

-Remove the offending website domain from coming up on search engines.
-Make it so typing in the URL won't bring you to the website.
-Block offending websites from receiving money from sites like PayPal.
-Make it impossible for the offending websites to sell advertisements.
-Allow ISPs to block a domain, and then have no culpability for it afterwards.

But here's the thing- what domains are they going to block? Yes, they've already taken down megaupload, but have you ever tried to just search MU to find a specific file? It's basically not possible. Or if it is, I never figured out how and I've had an account with them since 2008. If you're trying to find a particular download on a site like MU and don't already have the link, where do you turn to to find it? I have seen download links on LJ, facebook, tumblr, twitter, blogspot, wordpress, youtube...You name a user-generated content site and you can probably find where someone has put up a download link. It's not all torrents and pirate bay, these are websites we use every day for things completely not related to piracy. Now look over that list again- even if the government itself doesn't block the domain, your ISP could. I'd say just imagine it for a moment, but no, that might give you nightmares. User-generated content is what the internet is ABOUT. We make gifs and other images, we create derivative works, we share opinions, we write blog posts. If these bills pass, what, exactly, are we going to be left with?

So yes, we are up in arms. We're angry and nervous. Wikipedia and several other sites made a wonderful statement yesterday by blacking out. Awareness spread as people tried to look something up and couldn't, or saw a huge censor tag over the google homepage (etc). It was good, it was the internet standing up and making it known since the news channels haven't. (Don't understand why it hasn't been on the news? Think about who controls the channels- the same people who make movies. Yep, they're not about to tell you about all this!) And then today they take down megaupload. WITHOUT the aid of SOPA/PIPA. What does that tell you? That they can fight piracy all they like while still following due process.

And how did the internet respond? Well, an enormous DDoS attack, of course. If you haven't seen the list of what they took down today, go look. It's a bit impressive. Websites like the Department of Justice, the FBI, the MPAA, the Copyright Office- they were hit with so many pings that the servers couldn't keep up and the websites went down. I don't know if they're still down or not, but it wouldn't surprise me if at least a few of them are. I've seen several instances where Anonymous was called "the internet wrecking ball" and it's a fair title. But at the same time, it does rather feel like the first shots fired in a war without physical guns. How is the government going to respond? I haven't seen anything yet, but I feel like they're going to be forced to do SOMETHING. Will they back down or will they fight back? Has the internet just become a battleground? It's a bit scary, but at the same time-it's a bit exhilarating too. The world is changing.

AND THEN, there's a feeling of not knowing what our government is up to. [ profile] ninepointfivemm pointed this one out: Supreme Court rules Congress can re-copyright public domain works. JUST READ THAT TITLE. And then go read the article. The thing with this one is that getting the USA's copyright laws in line with international copyright isn't actually a bad idea, however by making this ruling they're setting a horrible precedent for RE-COPYRIGHTING THINGS. So now are we not only faced with a huge internet crackdown on copyrighted materials without due process, but congress can move things from public domain to copyright status?

What the ever-loving flying fuck, guys. No seriously, what the fuck. The US government has three branches, this is two out of three doing stupid shit and if the bills do pass and end up on the president's desk and he DOESN'T veto them? That'll be all three, folks. And if all three branches of a government that were designed to balance each-other go nuts like this? Well, it might be time to find a way out.

August 2012

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