As many of you know, I make a living on the Internet. Many around the world do. That's why I have taken the recent attack on the freedom of the Internet so seriously.
I trust none would disagree... the Internet has had the single greatest impact introduced into our daily lives, by any technology, in the last 30 years. In that timeframe, names like Google, Netflix, Facebook, and YouTube have become commonplace words in homes all around the world -- not only the United States. Services over the Internet, like VoIP services, Netflix streaming, and online-gatherings on social networks have become vital to our communication and entertainment based fellowship.
That's why we need to save the Internet. Make no mistake -- it is in jeopardy.
The PROTECT IP Act of 2011 in the U.S. Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act of 2011 in the U.S. House of Representatives would give the government (and those to whom they extend the right to request -- the entertainment and media industries) the right to shutdown and seize any domain name via DNS for even a word of copyrighted work displayed on their web pages, regardless of the poster (website owner, article author, or visitor comment). Translation: Internet censorship with website seizure as the threat.
These bills have been introduced and reintroduced by media giants from Hollywood and the music recording industry, such as the MPAA and the RIAA as a means of controlling the content that is distributed electronically. Ironically, instead of putting the responsibility on the MPAA, RIAA, and other copyright holders to find the content and enforce its copyright, it puts the responsibility on YOUR Internet Service Providers and the government to do so... and to enforce the content's removal -- by taking down the website on which the content was found. This will also affect Internet service fees and taxes, as this will take a good deal of money to facilitate.
Imagine posting song lyrics or a YouTube video with a copyrighted song playing as background music to Facebook. And then the government shutting Facebook and YouTube down due to a request by the entertainment industry... with no immediate provision for appeal. Imagine someone posting a comment with a link to such content on your blog, and then your blog company disappearing from its Internet presence. imagine increased fees and taxes -- your hard earned money -- being what pays for this. This is a real threat.
Don't take my word for it. Feel free to review the bills yourself:
So, how can you help?
Send emails and/or letters to your Senators and Representatives. You can use the links above on http://opencongress.org or http://fightforthefuture.org/pipa/ to do that.
Call your Senators and Representative Tuesday. OpenCongress.org can help with that also. Let them know you strongly oppose the PROTECT IP Act of 2011 AND the Stop Online Piracy Act of 2011 as they are currently written. They will stifle the innovation and freedom and innovation of the Internet, which should be preserved at all costs.
Sign up on http://stopcensorship.org/ so Senator Wyden can read your name into the official record during his filibuster to block the acts on the Senate floor.
Post a link to http://fightforthefuture.org/pipa/ on your Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ profiles, with the words "Save the Internet" to raise awareness about the attack.
Forward a link to this post to as many people as you can, to encourage them to take action to save the Internet.
Thanks for your time and for considering the Internet's future, and the vast impact of this legislation on those of us that depend on it.
Jay Baldwin IV