Thanks to zia_narratora
, who showed me how to include the Post To Your Own LJ button on my earlier post about the SOPA bill
. You can now reblog it to your own LJ easily - and I tweaked the content a bit, to make it more universally relevant, too.
There's an interesting look at the law on Time Magazine's Techland
, which includes this quote:
On the margin…DNS filtering will no doubt reduce piracy. But what we have to ask ourselves is, at what cost? And that cost is legitimizing government blacklists of forbidden information… The result could be a virtually broken Internet where some sites exist for half the world and not for the other. The alternative is to leave the DNS alone and focus (as the bills also do) on going after the cash flow of rogue websites. As frustrating as it must be for the content owners who are getting ripped off, there are some cures worse than the disease.
The thing is, they're ignoring the impact that the law would have on sites that host discussions, reviews, parodies, Fair Use-works, fan creativity, photographs, and more. The revenue streams of rogue websites? SOPA says that a site that hosts a Fair Use-protected fanwork is the same as a site that hosts a rip of a Blu-Ray film and all its extras.
I haven't seen much discussion of the specific impact that SOPA could make on fansites of all types - sports, books, films, niche groups. Look to the portion of the law that deals with blocking revenue. Many smaller, "noncommercial" sites (those with very little ad/associate revenue) are funded by the users, who donate monthly or annually to keep the sites online. PayPal, AmazonPayments, Google Checkout - those services allow these niche sites to thrive and focus on smaller communities and interests. And sometimes, the costs for the servers can be hundreds of dollars a month if there's enough discussion going on, or if people are sharing fan-created works that fall under Fair Use. How many of those sites will be cut off because The Powers That Be don't like a topic or a discussion taking place on the site? We saw what Righthaven did these last two years, using the DMCA to bully sites; SOPA - as it ignores the concept of Fair Use - is just a sop for IP rights bullies to shut down discussions that they don't agree with.
Imagine you're the fictional university of Nepp State, and you don't like people using your uniform or logo to criticize the systematic abuse and cover-up by coaches of the Quodpot Team. You hold a trademark (it doesn't even have to be registered) in your logo and jersey design, so you use SOPA to complain to PayPal and GoogleAds about the sites that have icons showing the "ghostbusters" symbol over your jersey design. Under SOPA, PayPal and GoogleAds would have five days to cut off the site's account, payments, and ability to accept donations from its users and
the trademark holder can go to the Justice Department to ask that the site's DNS be blocked - while there's a provision that allows the site to remove the content in those five days, that's in the realm of censorship. Gigaom
touches on these issues as they pertain to activists like OWS.
I don't normally link to RedState but their summary
of the situation and its impact on free speech is well-put.
And here's the perspective of some engineers
The EFF writes about the impact of SOPA on Flickr, Etsy and Vimeo
. Did you know that buildings are protected by copyright and sometimes trademark? Take a photo in front of one and put it on Facebook or Flickr (or YouTube, or a print you're selling at etsy) and you're putting yourself and the site at risk.
What will you stop doing if SOPA becomes law?