The Wolves are Feeding the Sheep: My rant on SOPA

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Thursday, December 08, 2011
Since the election of Barack Obama, the words socialism, communism, fascism and various other terms have been thrown around by fear-mongers and the Right to frighten the populace into believing that we are one step away from concentration camps and Riefenstahl films.

Although this is hardly the case, an alarming amount of citizens believe it to be true whether they understand what socialism or communism is or not. It's an incredible feat of trickery, then, when those who scream communism and socialism, in an effort to preserve our American ways, come to support dangerous legislation that could and would bring the United States closer to the realization of such government.

One bill, H.R. 3261 - Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), being pushed by both Republican and Democratic members as well as media giants like NBC and affiliates, Rupert Murdoch behemoth News Corporation (which includes FOX News and 21st Century Fox), and virtually any company tied to Hollywood and the like, threatens to strangle the internet in censorship much like communist-controlled China where what you see online is strictly controlled by government.

SOPA supporters say that the bill will allow law enforcement to better combat "rogue sites" engaging in Intellectual Property Theft, which they claim costs the U.S. between $100 billion, by conservative reports, and $200 billion a year. The bill would allow sites to be blacklisted and blocked using practices such as DNS blocking if they were found in violation of the law.

Stopping illegal copyright infringement and the sale of counterfeit goods from "rogue" sites may be the overall intentions of the bill, introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith  (R-Tex.), but H.R. 3261 is written so broadly that negative repercussions, internet censorship and Free Speech infringements are inevitable. 

Even now, media corporations are pressuring affiliates and anyone associated with them to stay away from the discussion and support the measure. Television outlets are barely mentioning the bill or any of its problems. You can rest assured you wont find any negative commentary, if any, about the bill coming from FOX news and their "fair and balanced" [sic] reporting, but you wont find much on MSNBC, CNN or anywhere else, either.

Assück's "Blind Spot" cover.
What does this all mean for the average internet user? It means that the possibility of sites like YouTube and Facebook facing private legal action and, in accordance with the bill, being blocked through your ISP or nationally is very real. And those two are media giants in the online world. Smaller sites, blogs and personal sites could also face censorship or be blacked out completely. 

Imagine being fined for embedding a YouTube video on your blog. Or maybe something like the Occupy movement would have never happened, a movement largely organized and orchestrated using the internet. 

Smith claims that this will not be the case, however. That his bill is solely aimed at combating and eliminating internet piracy. He even goes so far as to compare internet piracy to child pornography in the National Review, another great shock-inducing tactic perpetrated as a means to scare up support for the bill.

The fact remains that this bill is dangerously written. That the possibility of a communist-like internet is very real if H.R. 3261 were to be passed. It is broad, held up by shaky arguments, and an actual threat to Constitutional rights. While pundits and members of government are trying to frighten you into the belief that you're living in a communist-led, socialistic, Marxist society, they're marching in secrecy to try and push laws through that will actually lead us there. 

They're playing you for fools. And some of you aren't seeing it.

A new bill, called the OPEN Act, will be introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Darrell Issa to combat the dangerous aspects of SOPA. The OPEN Act is described as targeting financial flow to piracy outlets rather than targeting and censoring any portions of the internet. SOPA is an "overreaching approach to policing the Internet when a more balanced and targeted approach would be more effective," said Wyden

Whether or not the OPEN Act will be a much more reasonable and Constitutional alternative to SOPA remains to be seen, but at least the opposition towards SOPA is growing.

Keep an eye on all of this and contact your representatives to say NO to SOPA. There are a myriad of sites which help you contact your reps if you are too busy to find their email or telephone information.

Articles Referenced:

Comments (3)

How long before this gets removed by the government? :P

Censorship of material already occurs. I've had posts speaking negatively of a band or film removed via a DMCA complaint, regardless of whether there is infringing material or not. Wikileaks was famously removed for the purposes of censorship, and ironically made many more people aware of its existence in doing so. The bill, from my understanding, just makes this process easier. I didn't think about it before, but it is amusing that it's the right wing pushing for more of a fascist system whilst denouncing it :P

You are forgetting one critical point that has been proven time and time again, that the internet will get out. When China blocked off outside news sources, people made TOR, a massive proxy network designed to get around it. Now their only complaint is a lousy connection speed. When wikileaks went down, replica's of the site popped up all over the world, hosted on private servers out of the US jurisdiction. What will happen if the US censors sites on their own countries servers? They'll lose business as people - including the major US companies - flock to hosting outside of the US. And if they abuse the fact the DNS server (converts the name of a website in the url bar to the corresponding IP address) lies in the US, already having refused to hand over control to a neutral party made from members all over the world? Then a new DNS server will arrive, word will spread about how to switch DNS servers (one line in a command prompt is all it takes). I've also heard that there is already plans in the work to bi-pass the US DNS entirely, though how is beyond me. The internet cannot be censored. It is comprised of so many individuals that it cannot be done. All you'll be doing is pissing people off and killing off one of the few industries that is actually still expanding.

Thanks for responding, Thomas. One of the articles I list "SOPA Could Shutter Registrars & Other Domain Name Intermediaries" actually talks about one aspect of lost jobs due to this bill if it should ever pass.

Ah, fair enough. I didn't look too closely at the sources. For the most part I seem to agree, though this bill isn't worrying for the minimal effect it'll have, it's worrying just that something like this could gain momentum, highlighting just how powerful the large corporations really are and setting a precedent for quite a worrying future.

Post a Comment