Monday 2 January 2012

The Internet: The Last Bastion of Free Speech

In the fight for free speech, the internet is the last holdout.  It is the only place that your opinion can be your opinion and can be stated as loudly as you want without fear of repercussions.

But not for long if the US Congress has it's way.....

Much like the treasonous, unconstitutional NDAA, Congress wants to pass another bill to undermine personal freedom and, of course, yet another amendment.  This time they are taking a crack at the 1st amendment with H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA.

By quick and vague definition it makes a lot of sense.  Sheesh, criminals are making a killing stealing music and movie off the internet, when good and decent folks pay for all that!  By golly, it's gotta stop!

My favorite presidential candidate, Senator Ron Paul, disagrees.  See this article to hear more from Dr. Paul on the subject.

But wait....on closer inspection, the legalese in the bill has the potential to eviscerate free speech....and like NDAA, without proof...only with suspicion of "wrong-doing".  It's all about copyright infringement.  If you tick off the powers that be, and you've quoted someone, somewhere, saying something, you may have infringed on their copyright.  As a defendant, you are not even present at the legal proceeding allowing "them" to shut you down until you prove yourself innocent.

How do they shut you down?  Search engines are required to remove you from their listings.  Internet Service Providers can be ordered to block access to your site.  Advertising networks and payment providers can also be forced to cease doing business with you.  This continues until you are proven INNOCENT.  Wait - I thought it was innocent until proven guilty....oh....that was "before" the NDAA.

Not only can SOPA nail you with a felony for "infringing" on a copyright (by doing something as small as playing a clip of a hit song during a photo montage ) - it can get you for "facilitating" infringement, which could be something as small as a hyperlink on your blog.  SOPA also targets address-spoofers and proxies that people around the world use to protect their anonymity.

What can you, as an everyday Jill or Jack, do about this?  How can you see to it that this bill doesn't get out of the House of Representatives?

MAKE SOME NOISE!!!  Take the gloves off.  Share this post and others like it with everyone you know.  Send it to your Representatives and Senators.  Call those same members of congress and let them know that you will be watching their voting records.  Write letters to the editor of your local papers.  USE YOUR VOICES.

Feel free to share all or part of anything you read on my blog to help get the word out!

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