Paint it Black

Posted: January 18, 2012 in Blogging, Government, Headlines, Protests
Tags: , , , , , ,

The Internet is a dark place to be today. That’s because many popular websites, including our own WordPress, have blacked out their content, darkened their doors in protest, to shed light on two anti-piracy bills now being discussed in Congress.

The supporters of the U.S. House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the U.S. Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA) say the Internet can be a dark place to be any day, populated with unscrupulous users who pirate copyrighted material. Whether such illegal activities exist isn’t the point; they do, and we all know they do. The majority of us pay for our downloads, like we’re supposed to. Others don’t and that’s the problem.

While SOPA and PIPA may be aimed at foreign-based websites, the Internet is a global community and their passage could have serious implications for domestic sites as well. That’s the thing about legislation, and I say this as a former newsperson and United Press International correspondent who’s covered government activities: few pieces of legislation are as cut and dried and simple as they appear to be. Any law, no matter how tightly written, is open to interpretation and there’s no limit to the number of interpreters or the meanings they’ll glean from it. Could the proposed power in SOPA and PIPA lead to censorship, intentional or otherwise? Anything’s possible.

For Congress to make informed decisions, they need to hear from all sides of the issue. That’s what today’s protest is about – getting voices heard. Yours, mine, everyone with a stake and a stand in the matter. Be a voice in the dark today – you might be surprised at who’s listening.

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