Rather than black-out my website in protest of SOPA, I figured I would actually post something for once! I’m not going to write at length about what SOPA is and how it threatens our freedom, mostly because there are already plenty of better-written articles about it out there. (How did I come upon that link, by the way? I googled it, and chose from a wealth of free information, because that’s what the free internet offers us!)
I will, however, chime in with my 2 cents, because this is the internet and, at least for the moment, I have the freedom to write whatever I want here (even if it means mixed metaphors about 2 cents and free speech). Obviously, anyone who uses the internet for, well, for anything, should be concerned about this bill. I’m not actively posting pirated content here on my website, but if you read the fine print, that doesn’t mean I’m safe. Heck, under the current language of the bill it sounds like my website could be shut down for a cheesy reference to a long-retired sitcom. No questions asked, Easel Ain’t Easy is shut down by the government.
Yeah, piracy is a problem. Obviously, I mean, I’m a person trying to make a living by creating original content, and it would bother me if people took advantage of that. There will always be pirates, thieves, and swindlers – that was the case long before the internet, and it will continue regardless of any legislation. Personally, I’d rather sacrifice a few of my comics getting ripped off than throw a wrench in the mechanics of the greatest invention of the modern world, but I guess I have less at stake than the RIAA and MPAA (at least where money is concerned.) Hollywood is such a confusing entity to me… they attempt to reflect current events and public opinion in their movies (not to mention to exploit the current trends and play off the fashionable fear of the moment) and in that way they act as if they are an invaluable provider of our basic need for popular culture. I mean, it would seem silly if an upcoming episode of 30 Rock didn’t take a jab at the whole SOPA/PIPA ordeal, and yet NBC-Universal is a huge backer of the bills! It shouldn’t come as news that Hollywood is manipulating us, but now they are trying to manipulate their cake and eat it too. One way or the other they are going to have to give in… either drop their attack on free internet, or alienate the throngs of tech-loving consumers who could very easily boycott Hollywood and shut them down, if they had reason to. I used to think that kind of mobilization wasn’t possible, but the blackouts of Wikipedia, Reddit, and other major sites (and in some way, the residual anger from the Occupy movements) has me thinking otherwise.
I wrote more than I was going to, but it’s hard not to get passionate about the internet when you are writing for the internet. Initially, I was just going to make some joke that if SOPA passes I should go after the MPAA for stepping on MY copyrights. I’m sure my attempt at shutting down “Easy Rider,” “Five Easy Pieces,” and “Easy A” would show them! But maybe a better approach would be to stop this thing. Sign the petition. Or we’ll be waxing poetic about the good ol’ days, when memes ran free and knowledge was just a click away.