12:00am | by Dennis Dean | Today, thousands of websites and potentially millions of internet users will join in protest of two harmful bills currently being rushed through Congress. These two bills, known as the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, would censor the Web and impose harmful regulations on American business.
Millions of Internet users and entrepreneurs already oppose both bills. Members of Congress may think they are doing the right thing, because on the surface the bills look like a way to put an end to online piracy and counterfeiting, but SOPA and PIPA are the wrong way to do it. In reality, these bills represent an unprecedented threat to freedom of speech on the internet. The way they are written, they would allow the U.S. government, the RIAA and the MPAA the right to block access to any site that they deem infringes on copyrighted material. However, it’s not just the file-sharing websites that are in danger. Any website that hosts user content could be blocked from American users if a user posts an illegal link to copyrighted material.
Both bills would threaten the future growth of the technology sector. Law-abiding websites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the Long Beach Post all rely on user interaction and submission. Sites like ours would be forced into a position of heavy self-censorship to avoid the threat of time-consuming and financially draining litigation.
AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo and Zynga, wrote a letter to Congress saying these bills “pose a serious risk to our industry’s continued track record of innovation and job-creation.” Fifty-five of the country's most successful venture capitalists expressed concern over PIPA, stating that if passed, it “would stifle investment in Internet services, throttle innovation, and hurt American competitiveness.” More than 204 entrepreneurs told Congress that PIPA and SOPA would “hurt economic growth and chill innovation.”
On top of all of this, there is no guarantee that SOPA and PIPA would even put a dent in the online piracy they are attempting to end. The censorship regulations written into these bills won’t shut down pirate sites. There are better ways to combat websites dedicated to copyright infringement and trademark counterfeiting, while preserving the innovation and dynamism that have made the Internet such an important driver of American economic growth and job creation.
Please take a moment to visit AmericanCensorship.org to learn more, and to contact your representatives.
Creative & Technology Director
Long Beach Post