Most of you are probably aware of the attempt by members of Congress, buttressed by millions of dollars in Hollywood lobbying, to retard what has been the greatest source of economic and creative innovation in this country in the past two decades. The misleadingly named Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA), and its cousin, the Protect IP Act, are ostensibly intended to protect intellectual property from infringement by foreign websites who pirate copyrighted material. However, much like the domain seizures that ICE has preoccupied itself with now that it’s no longer enforcing American immigration laws, the actual rationale for these bills-and their potentially devastating impact on the Internet as we know it-has been obscured by a skein of misrepresentations by the likes of Chris Dodd and Lamar Smith.
For a brief overview of what’s actually at stake in this debate, I recommend you watch a brief but edifying video produced by Engine Advocacy, which explains why legislation like SOPA and PIPA would destroy the economic engine that is the World Wide Web. In order to find out what drives the man behind the effort to enchain the Internet, check out a post by Chris Quinn of the San Antonio Express-News, who’s helpfully provided us with some links that explain how ex-Senator Chris Dodd continues to inflict pain upon American taxpayers even after exiting Capitol Hill.
Finally, and most importantly, here is a page provided by Wikipedia, which like many important websites has decided to black itself out in order to draw attention to this issue. You should use it to contact your member of Congress and urge him or her to reject this unconstitutional assault upon what has been one of the greatest breakthroughs in human communication and creativity since the invention of the printing press. Notwithstanding recent defeats, the supporters of SOPA/PIPA have not given given up, which is why you need to fight back while you still have the chance. Having a few websites blacked out for one day is preferable to having the Internet blacked out in perpetuity. Take action now, before it’s too late.