If you have been unto the news lately, especially the political news, you must have heard of two controversial bills being sponsored in the American Congress that are aimed at initiating censorship of the internet. Personally, I’ve ignored all of it until now because I’ve never been political with this blog.
However, when I saw this blog post from wordpress.org a few days ago, I decided to break my silence on this issue. I think it’s time every blogger should stand up and support the move to stop SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and its sister bill in the American Senate PIPA (Protect IP Act).
As much as those who are proposing these bills will want us to believe that they have good intentions, we do know the dangers this could pose to the freedom of speech that the internet has afforded the whole world today. Please take a few minutes to watch this video for some insights:
Tell Congress not to censor the internet NOW! – http://www.fightforthefuture.org/pipa[PROTECT-IP is a bill that has been introduced in the Senate and the House and is moving quickly through Congress. It gives the government and corporations the ability to censor the net, in the name of protecting "creativity". The law would let the government or corporations censor entire sites-- they just have to convince a judge that the site is "dedicated to copyright infringement."]
So, why continue to be an onlooker? Whether you’re in the US or outside the US, you can add your voice to this move and help stop SOPA. Click here now and make your voice heard.
As a blogger you can do more to promote this cause. I’ve just found this wordpress plugin that will add a banner at the top right hand of your blog with a link to the Stop America Censorship site so that visitors to your blog can easily click and add their voice. [Take a look at the top right of this and see it at work!]
If in any case you are not very clear why you, as a blogger, should concern yourself with these political problems, here are some thoughts from the wordpress.org post you may want to note:
- In the U.S. our legal system maintains that the burden of proof is on the accuser, and that people are innocent until proven guilty. This tenet seems to be on the chopping block when it comes to the web if these bills pass, as companies could shut down sites based on accusation alone.
- Laws are not like lines of PHP; they are not easily reverted if someone wakes up and realizes there is a better way to do things. We should not be so quick to codify something this far-reaching.
- The people writing these laws are not the people writing the independent web, and they are not out to protect it. We have to stand up for it ourselves.
And if you’re thinking there is nothing we can do as bloggers then you’ll also need to note this:
“Some people will tell you that taking action is useless, that online petitions, phone calls to representatives, and other actions won’t change a single mind, especially one that’s been convinced of something by lobbyist dollars. To those people, I repeat the words of Margaret Mead:
‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.’
We are not a small group. More than 60 million people use WordPress — it’s said to power about 15% of the web. We can make an impact, and you can be an agent of change.”
Yes, your voice does matter and it can be the deciding factor. Click here and let your voice be heard!
Update: There indications that the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has suffered some setback already. The Obama administration is reported to be strongly opposed those who wants to enforce copyrights on the Internet. In yet another report, it does appears that the proponents of the controversial bill (SOPA) is being shelved until consensus is found.
All of these may have arisen from the efforts of those who are opposed to the bill. We must therefore do more to ensure that the gains so far are not lost as there are strong indications that a similar bill is set to be introduced in less than 2 weeks from now.
UPDATE: Just read on the Wikipedia blog that the Wikipedia community has decided to black out the English-language Wikipedia for 24 hours, worldwide, beginning at 05:00 UTC on Wednesday, January 18 as their support for this stop SOPA movement. I think this is a good move and should you do something in support!