Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Where Did My Internet Go?

If you've been living under a rock lately, or are unfortunate enough to be in an apolitical state, like I am.  You may have woken up to a quite unpleasant reality on your favorite websites today.  A big black box and a bunch of alphabet soup that makes no sense.
Well, once you know what SOPA and PIPA are they make even less sense.  While Wikipedia is down today in protest  - they have left the sites up to these two laws.  Additionally, there are quite a few results on a Google search (also joining the protest although only with graphics).

The internet has become our front porch, our town square, and the primary way we "hang out" with our friends and family.  There are small contributors like us here at Paper Napkins, there are social sites like G+, Twitter, and Facebook, there is music, movies, reviews, TV, newspapers, books, and shopping. We have created a virtual mall, with neighborhoods, jobs, factories, and all sorts of things to do.  Even if the internet isn't a second perception of reality, it is our social home.

As such people have crafted spaces for themselves, their families, their friends, and associates.  People have worked it to make a living, to share ideas, and to have fun.  There are some not so great things, there are some wonderful things.  It really is a reflection of the world.  The internet is also changing, just as the world changes.  More and more it allows us to interact and share our interests, thoughts, and loves with people all over the world.  It also allows us to share other peoples ideas, hate, and all flavor of misinformation and perversion.

These undesirable elements do not need to be the mold that has us burn the village.  I fully support people getting compensated for their ideas, this blog itself is copyrighted.  Yet, the last few decades have seen the strive to protect corporate interests stampede the vital social interactions of society.  Oh sure, it may not seem like that big of a deal to stop someone from posting their favorite music video, or their son singing to their favorite song, but those sorts of things are the bits of culture and shared experience that make us the humanity we are today.  Sharing clips from favored shows, funny one liners by our favorite comics, these are a crucial part of our society.

I'm not saying pirating is fine, because it does happen, but taking away the shared experience is going to do more harm than good.  Just the other day my husband and I were comparing the happenings to the insanity that surrounded prohibition of the 1920s.  (It doesn't hurt that the Ken Burns series was on not that long ago).  Pirating is wrong, downloading whole movies off of some site in Russia is bad, but legislating morality is something we are even worse at.  These laws disregard due process, a current trend in law making that is absolutely frightening.  The founding fathers may or may not have been geniuses, but even the toughest critic would be hard pressed to say they got all the principals of a fair government wrong, and due process, that was a big one for them.

Take some time today.  Look into these laws, find out why so much of the internet is opposed to them.  And then, before you get up from your keyboard.... write an email to your Senator.  If you are as unlucky as I am and have a senator supporting these farces of free society, well.... then it's even more important.  If you don't look after your elected officials, who is going to?  The pirates they are trying to stop will have more morality as existing restrictions already affect them to a degree.

Interesting Links:
PBS Newshour Blackout Image Gallery
American Censorship
Stop Censorship
SOPA Wiki - not blacked out
PIPA Wiki - not blacked out
Craiglist SOPA Information
Google SOPA Petition Page
Gizmodo SOPA breakdown
Companies that SUPPORT SOPA
How SOPA will affect internet users (CNET)
A SOPA letter from the future
SOPA summary with a great analogy
Why SOPA won't work on the internet - a cultural language problem

Need a Flow Chart to know what to do next?

From Ape Con Myth

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