STOP SOPA! Keep Uncle Sam’s Hands Off Our Internet

If you haven’t heard about S.O.P.A. yet and why it needs to be stopped, spend five minutes and read on.

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What Is S.O.P.A.?

Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the less known PROTECTIP (PIPA) are proposed legislation that aim to give more control to the U.S. government and copyright holders to thwart piracy online. Sadly, the legislation will instead give our government the power to blacklist sites that allegedly contain any small amount of infringing content, thereby blocking the whole site from users. As an example, if I post a video on YouTube of my cat being funny and it happens to have a pop song playing in the background, YouTube has to remove it quickly or face harsh consequences. And if they’re not fast enough? That’s when Uncle Sam gets to start messing with DNS (the naming system of the Internet), making the site unreachable by normal means to most people in the U.S. If that doesn’t work, private companies (RIAA and MPAA, for example), can get advertising and payment companies like Google and PayPal to shut down the accounts of the allegedly offending site.

In this case, YouTube could vanish to anyone in the U.S. and lose all advertising revenue if I don’t edit some music out of my kitty cat video. Sounds reasonable, right?

And if you want to read the full text, here’s H.R. 3261
Pay attention to 102(c)(2)(A)(i) regarding DNS re-routing and 102(c)(2)(B) regarding search engines.

If all that’s too much to read, check out the SOPA infographic from Mashable or watch a video about the legislation below:

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

Wikipedia And JoeTech.com Are Going Dark In Protest

At 12:00 AM on January 18th, 2012, the English version of Wikipedia will go dark for 24 hours, and so will JoeTech.com and we’re certainly not alone. Reddit got the SOPA Strike rolling, and Mozilla has been vocal about this for a while. My dedicated server provider, Codero, voiced their own opinion about SOPA/PIPA, urging customers to get educated.

During that 24 hour period I’ll have a blackout page up, but as of 12:00 AM on January 19th, 2012, JoeTech.com will be back to normal.

How You Can Protest

If you have a web site, go on strike with me.

Even if you don’t have a site, you can make your voice heard. That link will do the work for you to connect you to your senators to voice your opinion about SOPA/PIPA. Politely urge them to consider the freedoms we fight so hard to protect before voting on this horrible legislation.

Share this post on Facebook, Twitter, and Google +. Better yet, share any of the helpful links above.

Stop waiting for bad ideas to become laws.

Update: It looks like our politicians are listening, promising to make changes to the bill to help with our concerns, but we’ll have to wait and see what comes out of it. At this point, the bill may be vastly changed for the better or may just die completely.