In America’s Congress, there is currently a bill (proposal that hasn’t been enacted into law) about censorship. This bill is called SOPA or Protect IP. The following is from ACP’s site:
Check out the sites of other major participants:
- and many others
Recent legislation has made its way into the United States Congress that threatens the Internet as we know it. The bills known as SOPA and PIPA, or the “Stop Online Piracy Act” and the “PROTECT IP Act”, if passed, would give the government ultimate control to essentially censor the Internet. The bills are designed and marketed as anti-piracy, however they undermine the principles of creativity, freedom, and reliability that the Internet was founded upon.
The way SOPA and PIPA are intended to work is the following. If a website hosts or even links to any content that is copyrighted and used without permission, the government would contact the Internet Service Providers like Verizon and Comcast to have that website blocked from the Internet. Essentially, these bills would give the government the authority to flip the metaphorical kill switch on some of your favorite websites.
What websites are in danger of these bills? Google, Facebook, YouTube, WordPress, Tumblr, Twitter, Wikipedia, Amazon, eBay, Reddit, Flickr, deviantART, and Vimeo, just to name a few. Under SOPA, posting a video with copyrighted music to YouTube would become a felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Uploading a video of yourself singing a popular song to Facebook would also be illegal, and could result in the suspension of your account, and even potential fines. Posting copyrighted images to your WordPress blog without permission of its owner could result in your website being blocked, deleted, and blacklisted from the Internet. This is a very real threat to the Internet we have come to know.
How big a deal are these bills? Consider this: Wikipedia, WordPress, Reddit, Craigslist, Minecraft, Failblog, icanhazcheezburger, Mozilla, Imgur, and many more are shutting down their entire websites for the day in protest among thousands of others, while other popular sites like Google and Facebook are all moving to inform their users about the dangers of these bills. That’s why both ACP and CPAC have agreed to protest similarly by shutting down our sites to inform our viewers about the consequences of SOPA and PIPA. We need to take a stand with the rest of the Internet and assure that our rights to freedom of speech are protected from corporate greed and the control of the government.
These bills may only be discussed in the United States Congress, but similar bills have been and are being passed throughout the world. Spain wrote a bill similar to SOPA under threat from the United States, while Finland, Belgium, and the Netherlands all wrote their own Internet censorship bills. The dangers of SOPA and PIPA concern far more than just the United States however. The Internet is international. If a website is blocked in the United States, the entire world loses access to it. Even if a website is hosted in a foreign country, the United States could still block all of its citizens from accessing it, a crushing blow to sites that rely on regular visits from users in the United States. If these bills pass in the United States, it is likely that a similar bill will make its way into Parliament in the United Kingdom next. We must assure that these bills never make it to the President’s desk.
What can YOU do to stop SOPA and PIPA? The first step is informing your friends and family, and everyone you know. Tell them that the Internet could soon be censored because of greedy corporations who are lobbying Congress with millions of dollars to pass these bills. Ask your parents to research this, have them contact their Congressmen asking them if they are supporting these bills, and if they are, why they are willing to violate our First Amendment rights to freedom speech in favor of billion dollar corporations seeking even more money.
Below are a few links and videos where you can learn more about what these bills mean for the fate of the Internet, and what you can do to fight back. Post them on Facebook, Twitter, or email them to friends. Spread the word, take a stand, and do your part to save the Internet.
How to support the fight against SOPA/PIPA with your WordPress site:
Admins can go to their site’s Dashboard, to Settings, and then choose “Protest SOPA/PIPA”. You will be given a list of options, including blacking out your site completely, or adding a ribbon to the top right corner of your website (which you can see we have added).
- Wikipedia Announces Anti-SOPA Blackout
- Reddit Announces Anti-SOPA Blackout
- Imgur Announces Anti-SOPA Blackout
- Official White House Response Against SOPA
- Anti-SOPA Toolkit
- Join the Facebook SOPA Protest
- Add a “Stop SOPA” Banner to your Facebook picture
- Add a “Censored” Banner to your Facebook picture