Marketed as anti-piracy acts, The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senate companion, the Protect IP Act (PIPA) seek to hold websites accountable for including any copyright infringed material on their sites. As a quick aside, the bills grant immunity to ad networks and payment processors involved in any copyright infringement battles, so no matter what, only the site suffers.
Here's the scoop. I'm an artist. I work damn hard on my intellectual and artistic property and the last thing I want to see is someone pirating it. However, I also don't want to go to the internet one day and find that thousands of sites are "off limits" due to what Congress decides is piracy.
Smacks just a little too much of 1984.
We do need to come up with more cohesive and powerful laws to fight piracy and copyright infringement. But this isn't it. These are bills that directly target smaller market sites, i.e. Wikipedia, and focus on bolstering the gains and rights of big market moguls. That's a familiar tune these days, but don't let it become our new national anthem.
Today on wikipedia, you can type in your zip code and find contact information for your representatives. Write to them, call them. Beyond that, find a local chapter of Occupy or Move to Amend or similar organizations and fight for this country, of the people, by the people and for the people - before it by law, becomes a country of the corporations, by the corporations and of the corporations.
Here is a sample letter to make use of:
I am proud to be American. But I am greatly disappointed with what that has come to mean. A country run by corporations, for corporations and of corporations is not the country granted to us in the constitution.
In the past, rights have been usurped by the power of an economic oligarch.
Now, that power extends to the wide expanse of the internet. Don't let it.
SOPA and PIPA are created by those who gain significantly from the slashing of our rights and the strict control of our freedoms. That is not what our republic is founded upon.
Please block SOPA and PIPA from blocking our ability to gain information from and access to the internet as a whole. Constricting that access is constricting our constitutional rights, however it is dressed in verbose legalese.
Vote no and take a stand for the people.