First and foremost, let’s just put it out there —
No, this site did not blackout for the protest.
Wikipedia blacking out? Thumbs-up. They have a global audience. I don’t. I blackout and what happens? I miss a handful of new readers and a handful of new sales. In the all in all, nobody soaks their pillows with tears that I’m gone. Besides, what will I do if not obsessively refresh my blog numbers?
RIDDLE ME THAT, CAPED CRUSADER.
Instead, I’d rather talk a little bit about SOPA and PIPA.
It is, I think, easy to convince writers that anti-piracy legislation is a good thing. And while I’m not stridently anti-pirate (for a number of reasons we can discuss in the comments, chief among them being “I don’t think it matters as much as people think it matters”), I grok those who want to shut down All Pirates All The Time. Pirates are bad, after all. They steal our shit. They plunder our grog barrels. Fine. Good. Yes.
You done got swindled, sons and daughters of the creative age.
SOPA and PIPA are not about piracy.
They are about control.
See, the Internet is this unruly pubic tangle of possibility. It is raw potential given form and it puts a great deal of power in the hands of the individual (are you listening, creative-types?). Power in the hands of individuals can, in some cases, wrest power from the hands of corporations. And corporations don’t like that, so they go to the government and they pour giant buckets of money into the government’s slavering maw and lobby for legislation and the result is, in this case, SOPA, PIPA, and any other naughty anti-pirate hydra-heads that pop up.
Writers and creatives — again, as individuals — have a lot of opportunity in the Internet Age, in part due to the innovation and distribution the Internet offers, in part due to the social media that connects us all. Harming these by harming the Internet then harms free expression. And that’s no good.
Just to be clear, in case you don’t realize what it means to give corporations power over censorship and the subject of artistic originality, please cast an eye no further to the MPAA, whose arbitrary and often insane ratings of films put out by the film industry help stifle creativity and the craft and art of filmmaking. You really want that kind of control over sites like YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, Google, Wikipedia?
No, you do not.
SOPA and PIPA hit the issue with a hammer when what’s called for is a scalpel. (That’s how our government seems to respond to everything anymore, but I suppose that’s a conversation for another time.)
Anyway, others can discuss this matter with far greater aplomb than I —
Visit AmericanCensorship.org to learn more.
Fuck SOPA. Shit on PIPA.