My websites – with the exception of this blog – are going black on Wednesday to show my opposition to SOPA (though shelved for this year) and PIPA. (Learn more about these bills here and here.)
The kinds of chilling effects possible from these bills must be taken into consideration. I had a public post removed from a forum simply because another poster claimed I misrepresented them in one line of a multi-paragraph post1. Imagine the damage that could be done if spurious takedown notices – notices that would require a takedown before any official determination of piracy.
Think I’m wrong? Do you remember the RIAA’s sue-a-palooza that kept accusing innocent people of being thieves?
I believe the evidence shows that the MPAA and RIAA (among other big corporate interests) back these bills to protect thier own profit margins. They are not about protecting artists or content creators. They are about corporate profits.2
And in order to protect their profits, they are ready to criminalize anyone and anything that stands in their way.
I am not for piracy. But more than I am against piracy, I am for freedom.
Yes, it is difficult to stop digital piracy. Ask a policeman, or a prosecuting attorney: It’s difficult to successfully prosecute criminals. And that design is deliberate.
Innocent until proven guilty.
To quote Terry Pratchett in his latest novel Snuff:
Commander Vimes didn’t like the phrase “The innocent have nothing to fear”, believing the innocent had everything to fear, mostly from the guilty but in the longer term even more from those who say things like “The innocent have nothing to fear.”
1 The real situation is a bit more complex, e-mail me if you really must know.
2 Considering that many of the anti-pirating folks, including SOPA’s Congressional author and the anti-pirate “PSA” that showed in theaters for years contain unlicensed content from small-scale content creators, I think the hypocrisy is clear.