It may be apparent that I get a little angry at times for trivial things such as broadband speeds, release dates going back and Duke Nukem Forever being crap, but there are things worth fighting for as they are a matter of retaining our freedom of speech.
May I please turn your attention to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that is being proposed in the US which will have far reaching consequences across the world and may damage the very essence that drives the online community.
First off, I should start by stating that the AMOLAG team and I do not condone piracy or any illegal activites online or offline in any shape or form.
We appreciate that there are elements of the online community that might infringe copyright and there are occassions where content needs to be removed which is why there are cease and desist orders to cater for these incidences. Large sites such as YouTube, Wikipedia, Facebook and Twitter are super hot in co-operating with the authorities and I don’t see this changing in the future.
SOPA looks set to give the U.S. power to effectively take down, or have the power to restrict access to, any site via services within their territory. So even if your site is outside of the states they can force hosts and net providers to restrict access from within the U.S. which effectively screens out a site in the same way that content and sites are filtered/restricted by some of the far eastern authorities.
Do you want them to dictate what you can and can’t do or see?
Even if your site is UK based, on UK servers, sitting within the UK law you could end up having a black screen around your site preventing access for visitors from a vast majority of the net.
The main hassle is that this bill, if passed, would require all site owners to monitor every single comment, link and image inserted in to their site, even if the offending item was posted by a community member and not the site owner.
Big brother doesn’t want to just watch you any more, they want to flick a switch and shut you down.
The intricacies of the bill are so broad that nigh on every website in existence is hosting illegal content in one form or another and could therefore be liable to prosecution in some way. I’m sure the intentions were good but the scope of SOPA is too open.
There have been outcries from pro-SOPA groups that think everyone who is anti-SOPA is pirating content in some way.
All we want is for the net to remain free and open and for any restrictions imposed to be more carefully thought out before they are implemented.
How long will it be before the UK Government carelessly drafts such a proposal?
I’m hoping that they have a great deal more sense in dealing with the issue of piracy whilst maintaining the core of what weaves the internet together.
We need to nip it in the bud now and put pressure on our government to place pressure back on the Obama administration. To do so you can sign an official e-petition against SOPA on the HM Government website.
Major sites in America have been demonstrating their protests by blacking their sites out completely. Wikipedia is one of them, and you can read more about their concerns and more in-depth detail about the act on Mashable.com in ‘Why SOPA Is Dangerous’.