Wednesday, January 18, 2012


If I knew how to black out our blog today without losing all our posts forever, I would have.  I know the basics of some tech stuff, but rely on my computer science major of a little brother to handle most things.  The little brother is the one who first informed me of SOPA and PIPA (the currently proposed bills before Congress that purport to prevent online piracy of American held copyrights) and he is passionate about both bills not passing.  When you hear people talk about Congress killing the internet, it seems like an exaggeration. How can the internet be killed? While it might be more accurate to say Congress is killing the freedom of the internet (and freedom of speech), but isn't the freedom of what we do here the essence of the internet?

I don't pirate music and movies.  I don't even know how to so.  I don't tell people how to pirate material on this blog.  In spite of all of that, this blog could come down if SOPA and/or PIPA pass as written.  Those bills give our government the power to pull down sites if they think copyright material is being used illegally.  I could link to a movie trailer I think is legally streaming and if it is not and they discover it, they can pull down my blog without warning and without a hearing.  If someone comments on this blog and links to something not properly obtained, my blog can be pulled down without warning and without a hearing.  I use images from comics when I review them, which could also get my blog taken down without warning and without a hearing.  It sounds like I am repeating myself which I am.  It cannot be said enough, Congress will be granting the power to shut down our freedom of speech on the internet WITHOUT a hearing.  Don't think for a minute that there will not be people trolling the internet looking for an excuse to pull down sites whether they're employeed by the government or the studios. 

Congress and state legislatures have never been able to keep up with the internet in their law making.  There's bad content on the internet.  People use the internet for insidious purposes, like child porn and bullying, and yes, people steal copyright material.  Laws can be crafted to address all of those items and more without such a broad grant of power.  No one needs a kill switch on the internet.  In fact, of the three examples, all have laws that make those acts illegal (bullying is dealt with in terms of hate speech and privacy).  Enforce the laws we have on the books.

You don't have to take my word for what's going on with SOPA and PIPA.  Research it yourself.  Google is not down today, but has blacked out their logo in show of support with the sites that are black today.  If you think SOPA and PIPA are a bad idea, then you can take simple steps without even stepping away from your computer.  Sign petitions.  Email your senators and representatives. 

Thank you Reddit and Wikipedia for being such a great source of information of the dangers of SOPA and PIPA for the courage to go black today. 


  1. Thank you for very plainly and exquisitely explaining the extent of SOPA and PIPA Heather. I keep hearing people talk about this in such broad terms so I know it's a bad thing but I've never really been told why. I'm glad you have this concise and well worded explanation of it as well as the legal alternatives already present. For those curious, what's the best way of contacting both Senators and House Reps?

  2. I hit on the free speech parts of the bill as the technical parts are a bit beyond my techiness. Kay Hagan's contact info is here: Richard Burr's info is here:

    I suggest looking up your representative by District as the Charlotte area is a spilt district which can be done here: