As of January 18th, 2012, The Lazy Geeks will “go dark” for the full day to protest the two bills currently in Congress. The two bills, Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act, are supported by a bi-partisan committee that believes that censoring the internet and having rules to determine what can and cannot be seen within the continental United States is the only option to combat online piracy.
The two bills are sponsored by the Motion Picture Industry and the Music Industry that have been pushing for tougher piracy laws. Since the United States has no jurisdiction over any other country that houses these sites, the MPAA and the RAA feel that the only way to stop it is to have the government oversee all materials available on the internet.
The bills have become an online joke and are quickly being referred to as the ‘Great Firewall of America’ by many people that are against this bill. The tactics that they would be endorsing is similar to the way that China keeps their people from seeing news and information that is counter to their government’s agenda. While the bill proposes to create new cybersecurity risks, Silicon Valley opponents of the bill claim that the government “doesn’t understand the internet.”
While most technology industry and First Amendment advocates are strongly opposed to this bill, the proponents are being touted as people that love to steal and advocate stealing. This isn’t true. We believe that copyrighted material should not be stolen online, but having the government control what people can and cannot see online is censorship.
Many people sit back and believe that since “stealing” movies or music doesn’t affect them, they will sit back and do nothing. However, this could be perverse and could be used to stymie freedom of expression by using the guise of having copyrighted material on their site and there is no due-process for those sites that are shutdown.
Innovation would be hampered due to the government restrictions on “fair use” on the internet and would have to proceed through bureaucratic red tape to simply proceed in development. As we have seen with the movie and record industry’s grasping to retain control of their content, they work hard to prevent any technological innovation that impedes on their profits.
This cannot be stood for. The Lazy Geeks, which may be small, believes it is our right as Americans to stand up for something that we believe in. So for the twenty-four hour period, we will not post any stories, tweet, post videos, and won’t share any information on our Facebook page. Some people may wonder why would this help? It would give people a chance to see what the internet would be like if the government had control over it. Stop Sopa. Get Involved.
All of us would be stupid to say that piracy is not a problem. We all know it is. We can make jokes about it, but we aren’t entitled to see or listen to anything for free. Music, movies, games and comic books are available for a price and should be paid as such. However, to say that the only way to stop this piracy is to shut down the entire internet and give our lawmakers the ability to control it is a sobering thought. When in our lifetimes has the government done anything that was NOT in the best interest of big business? Yes, the motion picture industry and music industry are big business.
True reform comes out of all parties working on a solution. When the technology firms work with the movie and music industry only then will progress happen. The sad part is that the record and movie industry want to hold on to every last dime that they are incapable of seeing beyond their bottom line. Don’t buy into their hype when they say by standing opposed to this bill, it hurts the people working in Hollywood. It hurts only the people that get paid for the people that put money into the project.
It hurts the artist, but it doesn’t hurt the engineer. Why? Because he was paid for his time already and doesn’t make anything off of record sales. The producers and the record label do. All the extras and crew that work on a film don’t get a red cent of the movie when it makes it to theaters. It hurts the studio and the producers that invest in the movie hoping to make millions. Also, if the stars have any backend deal does it hurt them.
Don’t get me wrong, there are people out there that believe they should get everything they want for nothing. To those people, you are idiots. People don’t do things in life to not make some money and we have to respect those people. We should not make laws that give all the power to the big business and they can have their puppet politicians shut down our last bastion of freedom. We need to find another way because big business and government only propose drastic measures to rational ones.
I’m supposed to explain, from my personal point of view, why The Lazy Geeks has decided to “go black” on January 18th. This isn’t something that we are only doing with companies like Red 5 Studios, Epic Games, and Wikipedia doing the same today. This all comes down to SOPA, and I don’t mean the soup.
The Stop Online Piracy Act might sound pretty decent when you only read the title, but when you dig deeper you see the ugly truth behind the name. SOPA is geared to stop freedom of speech on the internet while disguising itself as a savior of anti-piracy. Not only is this a lie to the American people but an insult to the Constitution the country was built on.
Freedom of speech is something that I think every man, woman or child values in there day to day life. SOPA would effectively change that and decide what you should be able to say or see on the internet. This isn’t just for sites that allow piracy either since this bill could affect anyone that even talks about piracy at all, in essence shutting down website that raise suspicion. That’s basically the digital equivalent of burning a book that doesn’t agree with you.
Today Steve and I have decided to post this article and this article alone as a sort of personal protest against SOPA. Those that are not informed need to give SOPA a quick Google search and find out why this will affect us all. We’ll return tomorrow with our normal run of articles, hopefully with some good news.
These are some of the sites participating in going dark:
iSchool at Syracuse University
Good Old Games