The U.S. Congress is currently considering two bills — one in the House of Representatives called SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and another in the Senate called PIPA (Protect IP Act). These bills both attempt to use similar methods to further criminalize and police intellectual property infringement. Although protecting intellectual property is important, these bills would use heavy-handed tactics that would censor and splinter the Internet.
SOPA and PIPA would grant the U.S. government the ability to block almost any website on the Internet if the site is perceived to be an “infringing site.” Search engines would be required to remove the site from their search listings, payment processors and advertisement networks would be forbidden from doing business with the site, and ISPs could be forced to block access to the site for Americans. The bill provides little detail about what would constitute an infringing site, which makes the potential for abuse far greater. We have already seen how these kind of systems can be abused. In 2010, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) mistakenly seized a domain name belonging to a music blog and labeled it as a “rogue site” — the domain name was not returned until a year later (source: http://nyti.ms/uF73mZ). If you would like to see a video explanation of how the bill works and its dangers, please go here: http://vimeo.com/31100268
Happybottomus has publicly declared our opposition to both bills, and we encourage you to do the same. Contact your representatives in Congress to let your opposition to these bills be known! To locate the contact information for your representatives, visit one of the following websites:
If you’re located outside the United States, you can let your voice be heard as well by sending your thoughts via this website:
Another way to get involved in the fight against SOPA and PIPA is to join in on the blackouts. Many well-known websites such as Wikipedia, Google, and Reddit are demonstrating their opposition, and you can too. Site5 has sponsored a WordPress plugin for participating in blackouts, and it features an easy setup and configuration options within the WordPress admin area:
We feel very strongly that the future of the Internet is at stake, and we urge everyone to get involved!
The Happybottomus Team