Dear R people, It is a (VERY) rare event that I allow a non-R related content on R-bloggers. Today is one such rare a day. I do this in order to raise awareness of two bills in congress: H.R.3261 “Stop Online Piracy Act” and S.968 “PROTECT IP”, which could radically change the landscape of the Internet. These bills provide overly broad mechanisms for enforcement of copyright which would restrict innovation and threaten the existence of websites with user-submitted content, such as R-bloggers. Here is a short video clip explaining more about this:
If you want an even longer video, here is one by Sal Khan:
Please consider, as I have done, taking today as a day of focus and action to learn about these destructive bills and do what you can to prevent them from becoming reality.
action of the hour register to vote
Find out if your representatives support PIPA/SOPA. If they do, see if they are up for re-election in 2012 and find out how their opponents stand on SOPA/PIPA.
Important Upcoming Dates
- January 24, 2012 – Senate votes on PIPA
- February – House Judiciary Committee continues its markup of SOPA
What is the intent of SOPA/PROTECT IP?
The stated intent of the bills is to provide tools for law enforcement and copyright holders to protect their intellectual property rights.
What’s wrong with protecting copyrights?
Nothing! The devil, as they say, is in the details. PROTECT IP and SOPA will cause too much collateral damage, have a high potential for abuse, and won’t even be that effective at stopping the crimes they target. Read alienth’s examination of where these bills fail.
I’m not in the U.S. Why does this affect me?
Many of the sites that you may use (e.g. Google, Facebook, Wikipedia, etc.) are all affected by this law and will be required to hide offending domains from you.
If a non-U.S. site is blocked in the U.S., the site could suffer financially or even be bankrupted by the loss of U.S. traffic and revenue.
What are the differences between PROTECT IP and SOPA?
At a general level, the bills are very similar. SOPA, the “Stop Online Piracy Act,” is from the House of Representatives, while the PROTECT IP Act is from the Senate. Either or both bills may pass a vote in their chamber of congress on their way to becoming law. Both must be defeated to end this threat. There have recently been more detailed explanations in an ELI5 thread and alienth’s blog post.
What about ACTA?
The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, is a multi-national agreement with similar goals to the U.S.-only PROTECT IP and SOPA bills. It is criticized for many of the same reasons that PROTECT IP and SOPA are, but is also concerning because it has been drafted in secret. ACTA is not the focus of this blackout but please take the time to learn more about ACTA.
I’m not a U.S. citizen. How can I help?
You can still call or e-mail the U.S. representatives (sponsors of the bills would be a good choice). However, you may want to turn your attention more towards ACTA or other over-zealous copyright bills in your country.
When will reddit be back? What should I do when it comes back?
reddit will return to normal service at 8 PM EST (0100 UTC). While our protest is temporary in nature, PROTECT IP and SOPA are not. Continue to pay attention and join the conversation in /r/SOPA when reddit returns.
Check out the /r/SOPA Community FAQ.
- Read alienth’s blog post on why these acts are bad for business
- Information on H.R.3261 – Stop Online Piracy Act at OpenCongress.org
- Information on S.968 – PROTECT IP Act at OpenCongress.org
- SOPAOpera.org keeps track of where your congressmembers stand
- List of websites blacking out today at SOPAStrike.com
- Read up on OPEN, a competing bill
- Original reddit announcement of the blackout
- Outside the US? Find out what’s wrong with ACTA and do something about it. Email the US state department about PIPA and SOPA via Stop American Censorship
- Look up and contact your representative via the EFF
- Helpful info from a redditor on making phone calls to your senator or representative
- Complete the Take Action Checklist at Stop American Censorship