Hands off Our Internet
Ahem. [steps onto soapbox]
On January 24th, the US Senate will hold a vote on the “PROTECT IP Act of 2011.” Like seemingly all intrusive legislation nowadays, PROTECT IP is a huge acronym: “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property” Act. The common acronym of this acronym is PIPA, so for brevity’s sake I’ll be referring to it thusly.
You can read about PIPA here, although be warned that Wikipedia is one of the sites directly threatened by the legislation. Google is another one. Under PIPA, those and other online services could be ordered to remove hyperlinks and content, rendering the sites basically useless. Wikipedia, Google, YouTube, Facebook, Reddit, you name it. WordPress. All directly threatened by this legislation.
PIPA’s counterpart in the House of Representatives is SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act.
Both of these acts seem to have been written in complete ignorance of the reality of content generation and of the Internet itself. The Internet is built on links and content sharing. If other blogs–The Pen Addict, for instance, hadn’t linked to my blog, I wouldn’t have seen the little spike in traffic I did this weekend. Without traffic, this blog is as good as writing in a locked diary. To be fair, my blog is a bad example because the “spike in traffic” was something like 200 clicks in a weekend, but think about blogs like Hyperbole and a Half, or Regretsy, whose popularity basically exploded because people shared links on Facebook or turned “ALL the things” into a hilarious meme.
Please help prevent the censorship of our last truly free medium, the Internet. Clickity click.
And now, back to your regularly-scheduled owly words.