Swatting a Gnat with a Sledghammer

No Sopaipilla

Say it ain't so!

As you may have heard, the U.S. Congress is currently considering a pair of bills (SOPA and PIPA, which should not be confused with a delicious Latin American fried pastry) aimed at stopping online piracy of copyrighted content. Problem is, the bills are so broadly written that if they became law, many popular websites could be subject to takedown orders and other sanctions, implemented in a way that doesn’t really sound like due process to me.

As a composer and content creator, I care about copyright. I strongly believe that artists and writers should be compensated for their work. But what these bills propose seems like throwing out the baby with the bathwater, or going after a gnat with a sledgehammer, or — insert your preferred analogy here. I mean, if I’m understanding this correctly, someone like little ol’ me could be fined or imprisoned for posting a youtube video. I can’t go back to prison, people! (But that’s another story for another day.)

Many websites have decided to protest these bills today — some by going dark entirely, others by posting information and links for those of us in the U.S. to contact our congressional representatives.

Here’s what you’ll find if you go to English Wikipedia today:

Wikipedia

And today’s Google doodle is quite illustrative:

Google doodle

Now, Since I haven’t been posting on a daily basis recently, it seems a bit… I dunno… redundant for me to go dark today. I thought it would be better to post information on the issue. Plus, I’m not confident that a) I could manage to figure out how to take my site down, and b) subsequently figure out how to bring it back again. I was embarrassed to confess to this until I saw that the Bloggess, who is a far brighter star in the internet firmament than I, had admitted it openly.

Here’s a link to the website organizing the strike. And you can view Wiki pages on the bills, even though other articles are dark today: SOPA and PIPA.

Finally, here’s a video on the topic that is both amusing and informative — let Lord Vader give you the scoop! (Hat tip to the Bloggess, whose contribution to the video may make you laugh and/or offend you.)

There must be a better way to protect copyright. Tell your reps what you think. Do it for the LOLcats!

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