Our government is trying to let themselves and major corporations control OUR internet. There are currently two bills being debated in Congress right now, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) that would grant copyright owners (record labels, movie companies, etc.) the unmatched power to shut down or block websites that host even a single piece of copyright-infringing material. That means that, for example, if Soundcloud had ONE piece of infringing content on it, the entire site could be shut down until the the content is removed. That doesn't even cover sites who have embedded Soundcloud players onto their sites. There's the possibility that those sites could be disabled until Soundcloud cooperates.
Imagine seeing this on SKOA because of a song that a label randomly decided to become proactive on and want taken down from either us directly or from Soundcloud:
That's wayyyyyy too much power for people who have already been suing 12 year olds and grandmothers to be granted.
Basically, SOPA and PIPA would be granting all of this power so that the entertainment industry could potentially sell more units. All a big corporation would have to do is convince a judge that a site is "dedicated to copyright infringement" and you could kiss that site goodbye. Website owners could potentially face having their US traffic blocked, being blocked in search engines, even having their ad revenue blocked. This could affect a multitude of websites, from yours truely to Vimeo, Flickr, Twitter, Reddit, Digg and everything in between. It could even censor links you send in your personal email or IM conversations!
Bills like these will not stop piracy. People who are hellbent on pirating movies, music, etc. always find a way. These bills are both worded so vaguely that who's to say they won't be abused and end up silence our Freedom of Speech. Stop for a moment and think about when it gets closer to election time. There's always some sort of song parody about a candidate or one of the laws that needs to be passed. What if those were silenced because the person who created the parody didn't receive permission first? Not to mention you could kiss every single amateur cover song goodbye (granted, for some people who upload videos, they'd be doing us a favor, but still). We already have laws in place for piracy. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1998 (DMCA) already requires that websites take down infringing content once they've been notified of it. Plenty of us have been taken to dead links that were formally alive and full of content we really should have been paying for. requiring that the entire site be taken down over one piece of content is completely absurd.
For those of you outside of the US who are taking the time to read this and think this doesn't apply to you, it totally does. Typically the US sets precedents for Internet law around the globe, which means these kinds of laws could be creeping up in your country sooner rather than later.
Can you imagine what our internet would look like if that were to happen? It makes me nauseous just thinking about it.
This is where you guys come in. We can make a difference about this, we just have to make our voices heard. We need to get loud.
How can you help? Sign this petition. Share our post with all of your friends. Contact your Senators and Congressmen. Read and pass along articles from groups like Electronic Frontier Foundation, Plagarism Today, and many more.