Jan. 18th, 2012

If you care about free speech, please read this

To alert those of you who have not yet noticed: this is a day when many websites (Wikipedia, etc.) are protesting two U.S. government bills that could have a devastating effect on freedom of speech, not only in the United States, but throughout the world. As Dreamwidth Studios (which runs the Dreamwidth blog network) says, "Pending in the United States legislature are two bills, closely related, that are designed to grant broad, new powers to the government in the name of fighting piracy and theft on the Internet. These bills are known as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA, HR 3261, Wikipedia) and the PROTECT-IP Act (PIPA, S 968, Wikipedia). . . . We provide a space for the creation and sharing of legal content and in no way support or condone piracy or the theft of Intellectual Property. Laws like SOPA and PIPA, if passed, pose a very real and serious risk to the continued viability of sites like ours."

As the Electronic Frontier Foundation puts it: "PIPA and SOPA . . . would drastically change the way we use the Internet (for the worse), and punish millions of innocent users who have never even thought about copyright infringement. . . . These bills must be stopped if we want to protect free speech and innovation on the web."

If you're a U.S. citizen, you can contact Congress through this online form or through this EFF site. In addition, Dreamwidth Studios suggests, "If you are not a United States citizen, you can still help. Spread the word about these laws. If passed, this will not just affect people who live in the US - it will affect everybody who uses web sites based in and/or owned by American businesses."

Wherever you live, please pass on the word, in the same manner that you would pass on the word if you heard that your favorite writer had been censored. These bills threaten the free speech of everyone.

May 2018




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