What are PIPA/SOPA? Well, the letters stand for Protect IP Act (PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). (Interesting Orwellian terminology, non? PIPA gives the impression that our IP addresses are somehow in danger and they need protection. Sounds like one of those feminine hygiene commercials we used to laugh at when I was a kid. SOPA’s terminology gives the impression that there is some sort of violence online–pirates that need to be stopped, riding online the wireless waves, their swords pointed toward wifi towers as they shout, “Arrgh, arrgh, I’ll surf the web, matey!”) Yes, there’s fear in the words chosen. We need to protect our IPs and stop those pirates just as we need to defend ourselves nationally (with the National Defense Authorization Act) and be more patriotic, or else (Patriot Act.)
Essentially, our Congress will be voting on January 24th (yep, it’s comin’ up quick. That’s why, even though it’s 2a.m., I felt compelled to write about this. No, I won’t have time to write about everything or to proofread anything, but if I’m able to inform even one more person of the importance of this then I’ve done my job!) Please, everyone, write, call, email your congressperson and let him/her know you are against this bill. Even if you learn about this after January 24th–it’s never too late! I believe that Jan. 2th’s vote is a “test vote,” whatever that means. But we must let those…uh…people in congress know that we’re paying attention and we won’t just sit back and let this draconian law be passed against us. And it is very much against us, against Americans and everything this country stands for. Just remember how television and radio were once free and available to everyone. The reason for this is that we are supposed to have access to information in a democratic society. It is necessary for people to have easy access to information. In order for people to participate adequately in a democracy, people must be well-informed. In a fascist or tyrannical society, however, it is necessary that the people are kept ignorant. Otherwise, they might protest against injustice and unfairness.
This bill will greatly restrict our creativity and freedom to use the Internet. As a musican/writer/filmmaker, I can tell you that the people who will be harmed the most are us artists! Of course, in its Orwellian fashion, our government is doing the usual and trying to convince us that we are “stealing” from artists when we watch their films or listen to their music on the Internet. Nothing could be further than the truth! Do you think I spend hours writing these blogs free of charge because I’m hoping to get some money out of you? Certainly, we artists would like to get paid for our work but we give away our creations freely and we hope that if our work is of value that, eventually, the money will come. Of course, the money, recognition and appreciation will never come to us if we are not allowed to display our work publicly. This is even true of the wealthy, famous, celebrity artists (yes, the only few who will benefit from this USSR-like law.) They too must give away some of their work in order to get noticed. This is why there is radio and television. But I don’t care about them. I care about the starving artists, those who aren’t famous or rich yet who rely on the Internet as a platform that has helped democratize the Arts & Entertainment industry (an industry that’s notorious for NOT being democratic but for relying on nepotism, on people using other people as stepping stones.) But don’t even get me started on that one. Point is, this bill (SOPA/PIPA) will damage art, creativity, innovation and freedom of speech. Do we need to do more damage to our Constitution and Bill of Rights than has already been done by the Patriot Act and the NDAA?
From http://www.FightFortheFuture.org and http://www.AmericanCensorship.org as well as our very own WordPress.org I was led to a petition that began as follows. Beneath the quotes, you’ll see what I added to my own petition. I urge you to please write, email or call your senator or representative (or both) and let them know you’re against SOPA/PIPA
“I am writing to you as a voter in your district. I urge you to vote “no” on cloture for S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act, on Jan. 24th. The PROTECT IP Act is dangerous, ineffective, and short-sighted. It does not deserve floor consideration. I urge my representative to vote “no” on SOPA, the corresponding House bill.
Over the next coming days, you’ll be hearing from the many businesses, advocacy organizations, and ordinary Americans who oppose this legislation because of the myriad ways in which it will stifle free speech and innovation. We hope you’ll take our concerns to heart and oppose this legislation by voting “no” on cloture. ”
(my words added to the petition are below:)
By the way, I myself am a musician, filmmaker and writer. My work has been available for people to view for free on the Internet for several years. Most of us artists want our work to be seen and are grateful for the chance to present our work to the world via the Internet. Creative people of all types, musicians, photographers, fine artists, actors and filmmakers who are not yet wealthy and famous will suffer as a result of PIPA and SOPA. Only a tiny percentage of people (perhaps the 1%?) will benefit from this fascist, undemocratic and unAmerican bill. Many of us Americans have gotten the impression that you folks in Congress do not care about us at all. Please show us that you do not support draconian or tyrannical laws such as this one. What had made America great was our freedom of expression. This time in history (if future historians have the freedom to accurately record it) will be reported as a dark time in which there was very little innovation or creativity thanks to draconian laws such as PIPA/SOPA.
But maybe you don’t care about that, nor do you care about the many artists and creative people who’ll be harmed by this Soviet-like bill. Nor do you seem to care about the Constitution or Bill of Rights and the fact that the US is beginning to resemble the USSR. My guess is, though, that you do care a great deal about yourself and your money. So how about this:
This bill will not help you (or your wealthy donors) to make more money. It will not make you happy. Most Americans, particularly young people, spend a lot of time on the Internet. Americans will notice this censorship. This bill will cause tremendous discontent among Americans. Americans will not ignore this attack on their civil liberties.
We cannot afford to pay for everything. This will prevent people from listening to music, watching films, reading literature. As someone who has spent years writing books, producing films, creating music, I know how much hard work artists put into our work. We don’t want to prevent others from having access to our creations. We just want to get credit for our work. Most of us don’t get paid for our work. Only a wealthy, privileged few typically earn a living as artists. Obviously, this bill is targeted toward helping those wealthy few to greedily attempt to get more.
It will only backfire, as most Americans are struggling financially right now. We cannot afford to buy all the movies and CDs you want us to buy. The mean-spirited greed and selfishness behind SOPA/PIPA will result in more dissatisfaction with the government and corporate America, less buying of CDs and DVDs, less innovation and artistic expression and less freedom and democracy and more tyranny, more resemblance to the USSR. This is both scary and sad.