Don’t Drop the SOPA

Imagine a world where all of the world’s creative works are reduced to ones and zeros and the control of that art is in the hands of a few tycoons.  A world where those same few Wall Street companies have enough money, influence and power to force all creators to work for free.  That time is now.

Beginning midnight on Wednesday January 18th, 2012 a few popular websites shut down for 24 hours as a planned protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act known as SOPA & PIPA, respectively.  In fact, one protester’s website says “Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge.”  Reducing my creative works to ‘knowledge’  or ‘data’ that can be commoditized is so Skynet.

Some people spend their entire lives creating that one toy, one song, one book, one clothing accessory.  Their legacy.  In most cases, this creation is the only property of value they will have  to pass onto future generations.  Only to have some tycoon call it ‘information’ and re-purpose it for their own profit.  A creative work is not mere ‘knowledge’.  It’s a human creation.  Someone’s child.

This Ain’t a Movie…

Here is an excerpt from the popular movie The Matrix where the villain explains to the hero how, in the film’s bleak future, one organization controls the masses:

  • “Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world? Where none suffered, where everyone would be happy. It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost. Some believed we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world. But I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through suffering and misery. The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from… …Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure.

What Agent Smith did not understand was that the human condition is more than ones and zeros.  Our ideas are more than data that can be distributed perfectly with algorithms and without complication.  Humanity is suffering and pain.  Humanity is joy and laughter.  Humanity is complication.  Imposing any perfect-world scenario should not be mistaken as naive.  The last organization to almost succeed in creating a Utopian society were the Nazis.  How’s that working for you, Agent Smith?

The American dream used to be to learn a trade, earn a decent living, have a house, and make your mark.  That is still my dream and the dream of many others but it is no longer the dream that is being fed to us.  This new dream is to start a company, sell it to Wall Street for a hundred million dollars; rinse and repeat.  Although we are being told it is our dream, doesn’t it look a lot like a plan for world domination?

Let Me Clear Up a Few Things…

SOPA will not break the Internet.  The Internet is a network of millions of networks controlled by millions of people.  It’s not one thing that can break.  Yes, this regulation will create more work for some large, not-so-poverty-stricken corporations.  But these new jobs that will be created will actually help keep the virtual streets safe for our kids.

SOPA is not censorship.  Censorship is the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable.  This bill will not stop anyone from being original or objectionable.  It will, however, stop people from distributing your original works without your permission.

SOPA does not bypass due process.  In order for the owner of a creative work to enforce against a rogue site, they must prove to a judge that the site has received refuge from outside the United States and that there is no reasonable way to properly contact the host or registrar.  Only then will a judge sign an order to block the illegal website.

Google, Facebook and Twitter already have systems in place to filter content they deem objectionable such as spam, child pornography and even racism.  Piracy can join that mix without a ton of disruption.

I have been working to prevent the theft of others’ Intellectual Property my entire adult life just as my father did before me.  I have faith in our judicial system, which is comprised of thousands of officials whom we ourselves elect.  I do not trust a handful of tycoons.

Now, I’m going to finish my coffee…

12 comments on “Don’t Drop the SOPA

  1. Kevin
    January 20, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    You are right that there are a lot of misperceptions about SOPA. I’ve heard some people even argue that it violates privacy, which doesn’t make the least bit of sense. It’s not really “censorship” either.

    However, we already have laws to properly shut down violating websites. MegaUpload shut down is big news today, and they did so without SOPA and PIPA to help. SOPA has scary draconian measures that simply reach too far and don’t make sense. It also reads like the law was designed and written by people who know very little about how the internet works. Blocking DNS? Really? Do you really think that’s going to be effective?!

    • Rob Holmes
      January 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

      On the other hand, most of those who oppose the bill know very little about how the Internet works as well. Education needs to happen all the way around. All of the text that was marked as ‘draconian’ is out. Methods, such as DNS blocking, were removed. Now, in its current form, the bill make a lot of sense. If this doesn’t pass, Goggle will write one. They already control the Internet and, not to mention, do their OWN censoring. This is a time when I welcome the government to come in a break up Silicon Valley’s free buffet.

  2. Kevin
    January 20, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    You are right that there are a lot of misperceptions about SOPA. I’ve heard some people even argue that it violates privacy, which doesn’t make the least bit of sense. It’s not really “censorship” either.

    However, we already have laws to properly shut down violating websites. MegaUpload shut down is big news today, and they did so without SOPA and PIPA to help. SOPA has scary draconian measures that simply reach too far and don’t make sense. It also reads like the law was designed and written by people who know very little about how the internet works. Blocking DNS? Really? Do you really think that’s going to be effective?!

    • Rob Holmes
      January 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

      On the other hand, most of those who oppose the bill know very little about how the Internet works as well. Education needs to happen all the way around. All of the text that was marked as ‘draconian’ is out. Methods, such as DNS blocking, were removed. Now, in its current form, the bill make a lot of sense. If this doesn’t pass, Goggle will write one. They already control the Internet and, not to mention, do their OWN censoring. This is a time when I welcome the government to come in a break up Silicon Valley’s free buffet.

  3. Neil Ivey
    January 20, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    Good stuff Rob. I think we are getting a lot of information from one side of the street only, and it is difficult to get people to understand what this is about. There are still legitimate, simple ways to share large files that are ‘owned’ by a particular person, such as dropbox. The mass sharing through sites like megauploader, piratebay, etc., only serve one purpose, to distribute licensed content beyond the terms of the buyer-seller agreement.

    Look forward to seeing you at IQPC next week.

    • Rob Holmes
      January 20, 2012 at 9:57 am #

      Thank you! I look forward to seeing you as well.

  4. Neil Ivey
    January 20, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    Good stuff Rob. I think we are getting a lot of information from one side of the street only, and it is difficult to get people to understand what this is about. There are still legitimate, simple ways to share large files that are ‘owned’ by a particular person, such as dropbox. The mass sharing through sites like megauploader, piratebay, etc., only serve one purpose, to distribute licensed content beyond the terms of the buyer-seller agreement.

    Look forward to seeing you at IQPC next week.

    • Rob Holmes
      January 20, 2012 at 9:57 am #

      Thank you! I look forward to seeing you as well.

  5. tim forman
    January 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    Amen! Tired of the conspiracy theorists’ and the free thinker mentalist portraying Big Brother out to stifle creativity and send the internet back to the 90’s. I could not have said it any better…

    • Rob Holmes
      January 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

      Thanks, Tim!

  6. tim forman
    January 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    Amen! Tired of the conspiracy theorists’ and the free thinker mentalist portraying Big Brother out to stifle creativity and send the internet back to the 90’s. I could not have said it any better…

    • Rob Holmes
      January 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

      Thanks, Tim!

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