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Do you enjoy reading blogs or even hosting your own blog? What about sites like Facebook, YouTube and other social sites? Perhaps, you have a website for your business or even operate an online business. Wanna keep it?
Then you might want to continue reading....
It's not enough that the government has meddled in just about every other area of our lives. Under the guise of stopping online piracy and copyright infringement, now they want to control what you see on the world wide web - and make lots of money doing it.
I'm not kidding. This is a very real and potentially serious threat, not only to our freedom of expression and right to free speech, but to our economy as well. After all, in this age of the internet, millions of businesses and organizations rely heavily on the web to promote and sell goods and services. Many multi-million dollar companies are multi-million dollar companies BECAUSE of the internet and the world wide web. (Google, anyone? Facebook?)
The implications of two bills currently before congress could not only potentially shut down thousands of legitimate websites (including mine and other Christian sites), but also have a devastating effect on the economy and the countless jobs corporations like those mentioned above have provided.
On the surface, the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House are two peices of legislation proposed to fight online piracy and copyright infringement. Internet piracy and copyright infringment is stealing. It is wrong and it is illegal. I fully support the protection of copyrighted works. However, what the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate have planned for their respective bills is not just a way of putting a halt on online piracy.
In fact, after further study of the two bills, tech giants such as Mozilla and Google who once supported these bills now are on the offensive in trying to ensure they never get passed. Now, with clearer insight to the implications of these bills, millions of Internet users and entrepreneurs already oppose SOPA and PIPA.
PIPA, if passed, will give U.S. corporations and the government the right to seek affirmative legal action with any website that they see as enabling copyright infringement whether of U.S. origin or not. They will have the power to:
• Force U.S. internet providers to block access to websites deemed as enablers of copyright infringement
• Seek legal action by suing search engines, blog sites, directories, or any site in general to have the black listed sites removed from their website
• Will be able to force advertising services on infringing websites, and those supporting of them, to remove them from their advertising accounts
• Companies will also have the power to sue any new websites that get started after this bill is passed, if they believe that they are not doing a good job of preventing infringement on your website
SOPA, if passed, will work in conjunction with PIPA. As described by such entities as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, SOPA is nothing more than the U.S. government and private corporations black list. Here is a breakdown of the power given to the government and private corporations:
• The U.S. Attorney General can now seek a court order that would force search engines, advertisers, DNS providers, servers, and payment processors from having any contact with allegedly infringing websites
• It will allow private corporations to create their own personal hit lists composed of websites they feel are breaking their copyright policies, ironically this doesn’t have any odd feelings of a legal mafia at all. These companies will be able to directly contact a website’s payment processors a notice to cut all off payment involvement with the targeted website. This payment processors and website of question will then have five days to act before it is simply taken down.
• Payment processors will have the power to cut off any website they work with, as long as they can provide a strong reason of why they believe this site is violating copyrights
In other words, if these bills pass, the internet will become a hunt for any little bit of possible copyright violation. This legislation would give the government new powers to block Americans' access to websites that corporations don't like. The bill lets corporations and the U.S. government censor entire websites and cut sites off from advertising, payments and donations. This legislation will stifle free speech and innovation, and even threaten popular web services like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.
PIPA is scheduled for a test vote in the Senate on January 24th. We need to act now to let our lawmakers know we oppose such legislation.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, this bill would cost us $47 million tax dollars a year - that's for a fix that won't work, disrupts the internet, stifles innovation, shuts out diverse voices, and censors the internet. This bill is bad for creativity and does not protect your rights.
Google has an online petition you can sign here. You can also call your state Senators. Americancensorship.org has a great tool that will help you find who your Senators are, their contact numbers, and get you in touch with them. They also inform you of speaking points to mention in your conversation before calling.
For more information about PIPA and SOPA, view the following video: