I got a pair of emails yesterday about SOPA; a new internet “piracy” bill working its way through the House Judiciary Committee.
Just this week, gangs of dozing, white-haired men desperately tried to stay awake during testimony by the RIAA and the MPAA, who are really only interested in protecting you. And by you, I mean not you at all.
Obviously, these elder statesmen are the people we want making decisions about the way we use the internet and share information. After all, if anyone knows modern technology, it’s an 80 year old with a top loading Betamax.
Here’s the first email:
I wonder if you’d consider coming out against SOPA?
This act would give all the aggrieved, erm, “brilliant artists” a way to take action against your site and others that comment on work for sale, based solely on frivolous claims of copyright infringement, without any pesky need to prove actual harm, or indeed an actual copyright (I’m looking at you, Ms. Stallone). Just one unsubstantiated complaint will be enough to shut down a site, and there is no recourse, even if you’re falsely accused.
Anyway, your armies of fat jealous losers would probably have some impact if you mobilized them. I hope you’ll consider it.
It’s upsetting for a few reasons, one of which, obviously, is that it would impact this site. And maybe you like that idea, because you are one of my legion of anti-fans, who religiously reads every word I write because you want me to disappear. Which, by the way, is a great strategy.
But I’m not the only one out there who offers an opinion on creative work being sold to the public.
Think about all the sites and blogs you read that critique or discuss the media in any form. Filmdrunk, Gawker, Huffington Post, sports blogs, comic book blogs, it goes on and on. All those outlets will be endangered by SOPA.
And the commentary doesn’t even have to be negative to put you in jeopardy; it just has to be done without the express written permission of the copyright holder. Which means any opinion on anything created by someone else would have to be the officially sanctioned opinion. And if there’s one thing this site has taught us, it’s that people do not support your right to speak freely about their work unless you’re being nice.
And then I got this email:
I produce the Buzz Report for CNET and we did a story this week about SOPA – Which, if you don’t know, is a bill in congress that would radically restrict free speech on the internet, and make it very easy for sites to be taken down if they are merely ACCUSED of copyright infringement, without any due process or even proof of said infringement. Like any old nutjob who THINKS who have used a copyrighted image could shut you down. God only knows how this would affect Fair Use.
Anyway, I used a screen shot of the butt reading saga on Regretsy to illustrate the concept. Here’s this week’s show:
Well, at this point, our job is clear.
If Regretsy is CNET’s poster child for the right to tell gasbags like Jacqueline Stallone to pound sand, then I say we all get off our rumps so she can read them.
Call your congressman on his Jitterbug right now, or go to this website and make your voice heard. Seriously, do it right now.
Won’t your representative be surprised when he opens AOL on his land line and sees all of your electronic mail!