UPDATE: as soon as I posted this, I found a growing list of sites that are going dark on Jan. 18th. Sopastrike.com
If this site were bigger, I’d add it officially to the list. Yes, my sites will be going dark for 24hrs.
Below is a modified version of something I posted over at Lesbian Fiction Forum.
I’ve heard bits and pieces about this but not enough to understand it. So I’ve decided to do some research. Here’s what I’ve found so far:
(SOPA is the House version and PIPA (Protect Internet Providers Act) is the Senate version. Most of what I found online was about SOPA and noted that PIPA is essentially the same thing. I’m still looking into PIPA so what I have below is specific to SOPA.)
On the surface, stopping online piracy is a good thing. We authors are fighting this all the time. I was thinking this act is a good thing. But it’s not.
Basically, what SOPA will do is this, using this site as an example:
Let’s say I want to tell you of my love of chestnut trees. I go to Wikimedia Commons and use an image that is labeled as such that I can use it. However, the person who uploaded that image did not have the proper right to do so. The original photographer (or owner of the tree) sees the image on Wikimedia Commons. Now, under SOPA, that photographer can shut down not only Wikimedia, but for anyone and everyone who downloaded that image because by law, the webhost would have to release every IP address of anyone who downloaded it. Including me. They can then shut down my site AND have access to all of YOUR IP addresses as well. AND unless my webhost and Wikimedia Commons webhost could show that they actively tried to censor us, THEY would be punished.
Not to be a conspiracy theorist, but it makes me concerned for the fringe groups such as LGBT. They could shut down as many sites as they want. All they have to do is find one bit of copyright infringement. Not only could they shut down the sites, but also the IP addresses of everyone who visited.
I looked for some stuff of SOPA in plain English. I found a big graphic that helped me to understand it better:
http://venturebeat.files.wordpress.com/ … ternet.png
Electronic Frontier Foundation has several letters from some big groups against SOPA as well as articles that talk about the bill:
January 18th is Blackout Day. Many sites will be putting up a censorship marker for 12-24hrs or more to show what would happen if SOPA passes. These include Wikipedia (maybe?), Reddit, Icanhazcheezeburger (LOL cats), and several others. The list is growing as the news of it expands.
http://techland.time.com/2012/01/12/sop … ay-follow/
The irony of it all, is the original introducer of SOPA, Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, would be guilty under his own proposed laws and his own sites would be shut down. (although it is a reach since the image is from an archived version of his site)
While I think it is great that congress is trying to do something, I think they have no fucking clue or are getting bad advice. Most sites I read today said a lot of campaign money and donations to the introducers of these bills come from the Big Companies who want to shut down any and all piracy (like the record and movie companies).
And it’s not just that they’d shut them down. But they block the DNS of that website. Every website name is assigned one when that domain name is registered. If my webhost shut me down, I could simply move to another site with the same name. Not so with this. I would have to start over with a new website name. And trust me, real piracy sites are prepared for this and it would just be a blip for them. They’d just move on and restart.
Trust me, online piracy is something all writers know about. I’m not a big enough name that any of my stuff has been pirated but I know people who have. Piracy is NOT “sharing” and it is not “good for the writer”. It is taking money out of the pockets of the writer and their publisher, plain and simple. Want to help me and other writers? Promote our work by encouraging your friends to buy the book. “Sharing” with hundreds of online users is piracy.
But back to SOPA. This isn’t the way to do it. This is NOT how piracy should be stopped. It is akin to killing the dog to get rid of the fleas. They’re just going to go to another dog. And another. And another. And…
Contact your congress person. Tell him/her to not support it.
http://americancensorship.org/ – website with more (and better) information
http://americancensorship.org/infographic.html – good infographic
http://my.americancensorship.org/ – for stuff happening in your state/region