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SOPA/PIPA Blackout: Why We Did It (Update: A Vivid Description of The Effects of The Protest)

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It’s been quite the day for the online community, and I bet you’re wondering what all the fuss is about. Well, two acts in particular, SOPA & PIPA, are soon to be discussed by the House of Representatives & The Senate. If you are not familiar with the acts, Wikipedia (who went black today) created two informative in-depth articles. SOPA & PIPA

In opposition of the acts, Current Editorials was taken down today from the hours of 8AM to 8PM. Here are a couple reasons why we oppose the bills and urge you to take into consideration these thoughts.

The Economics:

The theft of intellectual property is a diverse issue to tackle. It’s natural that one that creates would want to have their unique product, idea, or media protected from theft. However, stifling innovation can cause an economy to halt growth. With the creation of new forms of media, new types of products and processes — often from the very components of things that already exist — is what innovation is all about, and what ultimately defines economic growth or decline.

SOPA & PIPA are controversial because they straddle these two immensely important aspects of our economy. Owners of unique products, ideas, and content should be protected from theft so they have an incentive to produce and sell their goods, yet this protection must not be so onerous on society that the creation of new and improved forms of content/ideas/products is stifled.

As they are currently written SOPA & PIPA destroy the initiative of society to improve on current intellectual products by creating heavy consequences for any modification, or use of current content. In English terms: if you sing, tape, and upload to YouTube your favorite Justin Bieber song, you and/or the site where you promoted your new song could be charged with a hefty criminal proceeding.

Finally, as the laws currently stand, the copyright owners possess overwhelming power to ask the Government to block content and prosecute individuals. While this is a bit hazy, my sense is that companies and individuals will be treated as guilty until proven innocent regarding copyright infringement. This gives copyright holders undue advantage in going after new content creators, who, after a court proceeding, could be found free of infringement.There is no use creating improvements when one can be shut down by large corporations, and with limited due process.

The Social/Freedom of Speech aspect:

Most of the western world became aghast when we learned how countries such as Iran, Egypt, Libya, and China (to name a few) clamped down on Internet access when their citizens were sharing information that they did not like. Yet this very power is what these laws authorize our tax dollars to build, our Government to control, and large corporations to modify. In a world where a large majority of our communication is being done online, it is imperative that our Government not be given any ability to impede on our free speech or flow of information.

Once again, we urge you to take into consideration these thoughts and contact your Representative & Senator as soon as possible. Ideas without action go nowhere.

To contact your Representative, visit americancensorship.org

Update: A quick morning doodle after yesterday’s blackout.

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