Anti-SOPA Message Gets Through
You may have noticed that, yesterday, we blacked out our blog in support of the Anti-SOPA movement. SOPA, the Stop Online Privacy Act is a Congressional bill that is currently being debated in the House. There is a companion Bill using the acronym PIPA in the Senate. Proponents say it is much needed legislation that would prevent piracy of intellectual material over the internet. The Motion Picture Association and many unions in that business are in support of the measure.
Anti-piracy is a sound idea and we are strong supporters of property rights. However, this bill is so vague and ambiguous that anyone who inadvertently passes on copyrighted material over the internet would be subject to heavy penalties. More, importantly, this measure threatens First Amendment Rights because it would allow businesses to shut down websites they believe are passing copyrighted material without going through due process. Next would be warrantless searches of personal data such as has allegedly been demanded by the U.S. Government from Twitter in regard to the hashtags used by the #Occupy movement. If this is starting to sound a lot like Bush’s Patriot Act Part II, you are not far from the truth.
SOPA is scheduled to be heard on January 24th. Yesterday, thousands of websites, like ours, went dark for 12 hours to show solidarity against this threat to our rights. Millions of people on Twitter and Facebook supported us with messages or by non-tweeting for that period. In response, over a dozen sponsors of the Bills dropped out. The White House has also stated they do not support SOPA.
We’re not done yet. The MPAA and their lobbyists are busy amending these Bills to get them passed. We must remain vigilant. So, for the next few days, until these Bills are heard and defeated, this website will display the “No Censorship” banner. Please support our efforts. Click on the “No Censorship” banner to go to the online petition and sign up with millions of others to have your voice heard and to tell our politicians to leave the First Amendment alone.