Kill Online Freedom of Speech
This is the only public post that will be visible on my Facebook or blog pages for Wednesday, Jan 18, 2012, in protest of unconstitutional online domain-blocking/censorship legislation. If you have not already seen and signed the petition linked above, please read and consider it now - and/or contact your Congressperson via this link here - because the Internet that you are used to seeing in all its activity here and elsewhere will not exist if either SOPA or PIPA pass into law as massive media conglomerates are pressuring.
I have studied arts/entertainment law - "anti-piracy" being the supposed basis for this legislation - and this law (under either docket name) has no teeth to curb /actual/ IP piracy/theft on a global scale (since it is focused on "U.S. aimed" websites), but a good deal of threat to harass and quash all manner of nonprofit fair-use: demo covers & karaoke videos, fan & tribute videos, socially-shared news articles/excerpts, fan fiction, obscure films/clips that are out of commercial distribution - and practically any material, be it entertainment or factual information, that either media companies or governmental entities do not want distributed to the general American public. It denies due process absolutely, indefinitely, and without recourse for injury; it claims the right to punish entire domains (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Wikipedia, etc.) for even single "alleged" user infractions of copyright/IP law by blocking them, rerouting their online traffic, and freezing their financial transactions - and this controversy is being swept under the carpet by the mainstream & primetime broadcast media whose parent companies are behind the proposed legislation.
These media megacorporations are counting on people's loyalty and ignorance to maintain their commercial profits (and increase their gain from legal settlements) despite this gross betrayal and evasion of public dialogue. Ultimately it is a stupid attempt to kill the very goose that lays their golden eggs in this peer-to-peer and intentionally-communal online age....even assuming a short-term gain in profits due to scaring away all non-profit usage/sharing of material, the forecast is that - as people are (hopefully) not idiots, they will eventually refrain from consuming for-profit-only entertainment as they realize that it has treated them all as potential criminals rather than as loyal or supportive audiences at all.
I believe in the right of all artists to be duly recognized and earn compensation for their creative work. I do /not/ believe in the right of corporations or government entities to censor creative or political expression merely because it does not give them instant money and/or support them unconditionally. The "marketplace of ideas," ironically, is one of the least-free and least-respected aspects of civilization in this capitalist society, because of the modern demand that all activity be directly translatable into financial gain or loss as a "property" - a concept which in itself goes against the grain of both nature and the entire course of pre-Industrial creative and technological history. These present demands of entrenched media-monopolists go too far, and what is at stake is freedom of speech itself - political /and/ creative; entrepreneurial, educational, and social. And that is a fundamental freedom that we as a nation and as humans cannot afford to lose, regardless of anyone's profit-driven paranoia.
[Yes, I do realize the irony of protesting U.S. censorship on a Russian-owned blognet....but LJ is aimed at a large U.S. audience, and it is just as liable as any American-owned social/blogging website to run afoul of this proposed legislation.]