Don’t you remember Napster in its original run? That watershed moment when Shawn Fanning and a few college-aged friends changed the face of mass media forever by allowing people to quickly and easily share music at a time when most people were on dial-up and a song took nearly an hour to acquire? Then the RIAA came along and stomped the hell out of it, ironically forcing the creation of even more, harder to trap networks that worked quickly to diminish the value of the commercial music industry it represented. You may have heard a bit about E-PARASITE or the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) lately, but you may not know what it is. Basically, this is the RIAA (music) and MPAA’s (movies) latest attempt to trap the entire internet to prevent piracy of its content. It cannot be allowed to pass.
Imagine an internet in which you run a website (like we do here at FleshEatingZipper) and you’re accused by the media industries of being participating in piracy. They can then run to the government who will get your site shut down, bring felony charges against you, and also force search providers like Google to stop serving you. In essence, the RIAA and MPAA want to be able, in motives clearly opposite of net neutrality, to be able to lob off and shut down parts of the internet it wants at will. Do you want this to happen? The intent is supposed to shut down crazy sites like The Pirate Bay (which is based in Scandinavia, so I don’t know how they’d get a hold of that) which are clearly based on piracy.
Now look, you can go back and forth on piracy forever. It’s existed since people have put up tape recorders to speakers at concerts and made bootlegs. We don’t believe in the validity of piracy here, but this is clearly the media industry’s worst attempt yet to try and control the content you consume on the internet. Piracy is obviously a concern across all digital industries, but once the government takes away our internet freedoms, it’s going to be extremely difficult to get them back. In fact, Silicon Valley titans like Google, Twitter, and Facebook have spoken out against these proposed acts.
It’s unfortunate that our Congress, which has had terrible approval rates for some time now, just doesn’t understand how technology works. Many of these career politicians have lost track of what constituents want or even how the world exists on a moment to moment basis. Now, you can sit in front of the White House or Congress in protest, or you can actually do something, namely visit the White House’s official petition site to sign this petition today. Regardless of your political party, you need to stop by and let Obama know that this is wrong.