Friday, January 20, 2012

SOPA and PIPA

It's funny. If this had happened a year ago I pretty much would have been on the outskirts of this debate saying something like "I hope the Americans realise" and being nicely surprised at the blackouts conducted around the internet on Wednesday and the consquences of that action.

However, here I am now and I was part of one of those blackouts over at BeefJack. For a day we didn't post any news at all, because if SOPA went through in it's current state it is entirely possible we would get shut down for using images from games that we're trying to tell people about.

Still, the net shouted in protest and we were heard. News programs across the Western world were finally commenting (mostly about Wikipedia and Google's blacked out header but still). Since then Senators have dropped their support for both bills by the busload. PIPA seems to have totally withdrawn for now. However, Lamar Smith, SOPA's biggest champion, has said it isn't over!

None of us expected it to be over. Out of all those that went on the blackout I don't think you'd find one who would say copyright doesn't need to be protected. Pirates do need to be stopped, but not like this. What was being protested was the way SOPA and PIPA intended to deal with the problem. Effectively taking a sledgehammer to even the slightest whiff of piracy. Remember the old saying "don't shoot the messenger?" They weren't just shooting the messenger but anyone within fifty feet of him.

Both bills are simply far too vague to do anything other than end the internet as it is. Go away, rewrite them, remove any reference to no due process and we may start to have something that isn't just pandering to big business.
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