But, what is it? I mean, if you've very carefully followed the news - attempting to sift through all the massive quantities of spin attached to the reporting - and read all the articles and discussed it with someone who can translate legalese, then you probably know, but what about everyone else? The problem with legislation such as this is that it is written in language few people speak (the aforementioned legalese), and then it is boiled down to a sound bite that is then fed to the public. What sound bite you ask?
SOPA/PIPA are designed to stop online piracy.
This legislation is protecting copyright.
This legislation would stop the unlawful spread of someone else's copyrighted material.
If you're lucky, you've heard the part about making sure authors/musicians/artists get paid for their work, instead of it becoming a free source online. To a normal person, this sounds like the issue of book piracy we were just discussing, right? Except, that's not really what the law is set out to do.SOPA and PIPA are designed to either block an entire website from being accessed, or to stop payments going to a website should it be deemed they are using copyrighted material. On the surface this sounds like the elimination of sites like Pirate Bay or programs like Limewire that allow free filesharing of movies, music, pictures, and pretty much anything else one can upload. Sounds good, right?
But, what if a blogger using the Blogspot domain posts a piece of copyrighted material? The legislation deems that all of Blogspot - including this blog - could be deemed inaccessible. At least, through conventional means.
This legislation also doesn't take into account the understanding of Fair Use, which allows the republishing of copyrighted material under certain circumstances.
Now, I could spend all day trying to boil down SOPA and PIPA, but I would just like to instead say this: Fire Lyte and Inciting A Riot's various media projects stand with the protests against SOPA and PIPA. While piracy is a bad thing, this much of an overreach is obscene and a step in a very bad, very dark direction for the United States. But, don't take my word for it. Below is a video from the massively excellent New Left Media. (You've heard me talk about them before.) It explains, in terms everyone can understand, exactly what PIPA and SOPA are, and the full scope of their legislation. It dispels the myths and talking points, and gives you the meat of the issue.
Love and Lyte,