Normally I don’t believe in symbolic gestures. Activism without action usually strikes me as little more than feel good gestures that may attract attention, but have little genuine effect.
But there are always exceptions…
This year will mark my fourth year of blogging. At some point I will end The Domino Theory and move on to something else. When I do pull the plug I want it to be my decision and not that of some wrong-headed legislation pushed through Congress for the benefit of some greedy corporations looking to regulate and control content of the Internet.
Writing in The New York Times, Rebecca McKinnon describes the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in stark terms with dire consequences.
“The potential for abuse of power through digital networks – upon which we as citizens now depend for nearly everything, including our politics – is one of the most insidious threats to democracy in the Internet age … This is no time for politicians and industry lobbyists in Washington to be devising new Internet censorship mechanisms, adding new opportunities for abuse of corporate and government power over online speech.”
My blog will be “going dark” today for 12 hours to protest the SOPA/PIPA legislation being pushed through Congress by Republicans with the support of some clueless Democrats and opposed by the Obama Administration. If you visit Wikipedia or Google among other websites you will see “blacked out” images. This is not hypothetical and this is not theoretical. This is CENSORSHIP and it is here
We’ve seen this battle before. It used to be fought over audio tape cassettes and VCRs. Then it was waged over file sharing, ripping music and pirating movies. Now it’s about whether you’ve secured the proper permissions and rights to share that You Tube video you’ve been passing around to your 5,000 Facebook friends.
I would like to assume this lousy legislation will die a quick and painful death in the halls of Congress, but when money and power wants something they tend to work very hard to get what they want. We who depend on the Internet to stay free so we can speak freely must work equally hard.
Fight for the future.
- Stop Sopa or the web really will go dark (guardian.co.uk)
- MPAA blasts ‘dangerous’ anti-SOPA blackouts as ‘stunts’ (news.cnet.com)
- Wikipedia Dark For 24 Hours In Protest Of S.O.P.A. (theobamacrat.com)
- Who, besides Wikipedia, is going dark and why (zdnet.com)
- Thoughts on Wikipedia’s SOPA/PIPA blackout (likeabanana.wordpress.com)