As everyone knows, yesterday was blackout day. Wikipedia, Reddit, WordPress, various video sites, and even the Google logo was blacked out in protest of SOPA and PIPA, bills which would give unprecedented power to music and video licensers to essentially shut down websites they do not approve of. Yesterday was a day when the internet stood together and said, Congress, if you pass this bill, you will lose your jobs. And it was great.
Now you might think that as a Red Wings fan site, we shouldn’t really care about this issue. This is a hockey site and it will generally stay that way. Stories about dogs, the KGB, puppies, movies and hookers will usually only come into play when they relate to the Wings in some way. So why are we still talking about SOPA? Because it could essentially shut down websites, like this one, if passed.
Please, hit the jump for a listing of what would have to change around here if it passes.
As explained by another blog:
The bill, if made the law, will allow US Department of Justice (at the behest of the studios) to take legal actions against the websites/blogs/search engines accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. The government could ask advertisers to stop doing business with such sites and even stop payment of any pending business, bar search engines from linking to such sites and order internet service providers to block access to such sites….According to PIPA infringement exists if “facts or circumstances suggest that a site is used, primarily as a means for engaging in, enabling, or facilitating the activities described.”
Thus, User-content websites such as Youtube would be greatly affected, and websites like Etsy, Flickr and Vimeo all seem likely to shut down if the bill becomes law. And worst of all, the bill's "vigilante" provision gives broad immunity to any provider who proactively shutters sites it considers to be infringers. So Google, MSN, Comcast, or any DNS provider would not only have the ability to delist sites, it would be encouraged and rewarded for doing so, proactively. Again, without any court order.
Sites like ours, even if they aren’t shut down, would be greatly affected. The bill "targets an entire website even if only a small portion hosts or links to some infringing content." Thus, even one violation could lead to a shutdown. Things here would change, and not for the better. See below for what would no longer occur.
- Right now, we admittedly often use photos without permission as backdrop to our stories. Technically a violation right there, off the bat. In fact, the above photo is punishable by death. Seriously. (But just kidding. Seriously.)
- Highlight videos of Datsyuk ripping goalies groins? Well, even if using the video itself isn’t a violation (I’m not up on the law on this, but it likely is), if there is any sort of backing music, then even linking to this could be a violation and lead to a delisting
- If you uploaded the video? God help you. You may be facing criminal charges, which could include years in prison.
- Our Gameday Movie Posters? Possibly covered under a fair use/parody exception of copyright violation and thus legal. Yet, even so, that would have to be litigated to figure out. It certainly might be significant enough for a site like Google or bloguin to prevent us from posting these, under a “better safe than sorry” approach.
- Our Facebook page? Likely gone, as we might link to offending content.
- Seeya photoshops of Happy Hudler. Violation. Sadness.
- The end of the “Datsyuk owns the ____ series” and imprisonment of all those who upload such brilliance to YouTube.
So essentially, no matter how you look at it, it would mean the end of the blog as we know it. If we did try to comply with everything, learning the ins and outs of these laws would require this to become a full time job for myself. Something that none of us can pull off.
Now this might a bit of a doomsday approach. We likely are too small to be affected. Perhaps. But maybe we’re too small, but Winging It In Motown is not. Or forums like LetGoWings.com. Or any number of large hosting sites. It’s not good anyway it’s viewed.
This bill was written by the MPAA. According, if passed, the only beneficiaries would be the MPAA (and those like it). Innovation, creativity and the internet in general would suffer. Content providers already have very a strong club to defend their content. No need to give them a nuclear bomb which would kill us all.
So while the blackout is over, let’s not forget about this issue. SOPA and anything like it must die. So tell your friends, parents, teammates. Call your representative. Hell, even sign the usually completely pointless online petition. But just because you can wiki-something again, don’t forget about a bill that could kill the internet.
I'm in Canada but this is still quite a big deal. SOPA would set a precedent for nations picking and choosing what should and shouldn't be seen on the internet.
Watch this video if you don't know anything about SOPA/PIPA
"This is a hockey site and it will generally stay that way. Stories about dogs, the KGB, puppies, movies and hookers will usually only come into play when they relate to the Hudler in some way" Fixed that for you.
There are definitely better things for law making bodies to be worried about, should be worried about, but of course when was the last time you heard of a law maker doing that? Or how about starving? Short of money? Having to decide between paying the light bill or putting gas in their tank? I say we sick Serj Tankian on them, or put them in a room full of rabid weasels, and genetically altered wolverines, with enlarged pineal glands, and let them talk it out.
I'm Kevin and Im addicted to this blog. It's like crack. Don't take away my crack. I may have to go all hulkatuzzi on my senators and reps inboxes, mailboxes, and voicemail boxes.