What some of your favorite authors have to say about censorship:
If you don’t believe that censorship is a serious issue, just take a look at the Protect-IP Act and SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act), the first Internet censorship bills that have a legitimate chance of being passed into law. Basically, the government would have the power to block any domain that hosts or links to copyrighted content, even if it’s user uploaded. That means that sites like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook will have to censor their users’ uploads to ensure that they don’t get shut down. Not only that, but users who post any kind of copyrighted work could possibly serve jail time.
I encourage you to find out more about these bills and decide for yourself. While I don’t support copyright infringement, I also don’t think that the government should be given the power to censor the Internet, a zone where people are free to create and express themselves. Passing these bills would just be one more way in which our government is catering to corporate America and put us a step closer to countries like China, who can simply turn off the Internet if citizens are using it for purposes they don’t like.
Here’s a video that explains more about these bills:
Click here to learn more and make your opinions heard.
And, just for entertainment’s sake, here’s Stephen Colbert’s take on the whole issue.
Update: Congress is voting on SOPA tomorrow. Go here or here to contact your representative. Also, Dear Author has a post today discussing SOPA’s impact on authors and sites like Etsy, and they link to a list of publishers that are supporting the bill. They bring up the point that the main problem with the bill is that the language is too broad. I urge you to learn more, spread the word, and, above all, contact your representative to let your voice be heard.
Update 2: SOPA has been delayed, but it hasn’t gone away. In the meantime, here are some articles that you might find interesting:
- Go Daddy, which had been a vocal supporter of SOPA, has reversed its stance following a major exodus of its users.
- MythBuster Adam Savage’s thoughts on SOPA
- Two intriguing articles from Joshua Kopstein: Dear Congress, It’s No Longer OK To Not Know How The Internet Works and Break In Case Of Censorship: What Are Our Free Speech Fail-safes If SOPA Passes?