The Blacklist (Internet Censorship)
STOP THE LAW THAT WILL CENSOR THE INTERNET
Well if that doesn’t get your attention I don’t know what will. Internet censorship has a nasty ring to it, especially for tumblr users. Here’s what it’s about.
The Protect IP Act (PIPA) is a U.S. Senate bill introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy. Along with its counterpart in the House of Representatives, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the bills were written to provide the government and copyright holders with powers to block access to “rogue websites dedicated to infringing or counterfeit goods,” especially those registered outside the United States.
Supporters say that our government needs new tools to fight websites that sell fake products. Counterfeit music, movies, and clothing costs the US economy billions of dollars a year, while some fakes, like counterfeit medicine, are serious health concerns. Senator Leahy says that the bill is the best way to enable the US government to protect American citizens from dangerous products, and is no different than a modern-day quality-control system, except extended to digital property.
But as any one logged into tumblr today can see, the bill’s been met by heavy opposition from many websites and blogging communities, including our own. The question is: will the government really only use this added power to protect Americans from foreign fakes, or will it be used to charge and prosecute internet users for peer-to-peer sharing, video streaming, and other content posting? Another argument is that online rights protected under the first amendment of free speech would be taken away by the PIPA, leaving internet users at the mercy of corporations to decide whether their usage of the internet is legal or not. Also, the government would be able to control ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and block certain sites from appearing on search engines. (Something that many say is based on the censorship policies of Iran and China.)
Hearings for both the PIPA and SOPA began today, November 16th.
Now, everything I’ve written here has been my own opinions, from my own perspective. I personally believe that the bill is dangerous and shouldn’t be passed. But don’t take my word for it. Don’t click that link at the top of your dashboard, and blindly take tumblr’s word for it. But don’t just sit and accept it either.
The best thing to do is research it on your own and come to your own conclusion. Before last week, I had no idea that this was even an issue. For most people reading this, it’ll most likely be your first time to hear about it. So please, get informed about this before you make any decisions.
Google PIPA and SOPA, and read up on both sides of the argument.
Because who knows? If you google it in a few years, you might only find one side.