Dear SOPA, I Don’t Want To Pirate The Internet. I Just Want To Be Creative And Do Hoodrat Stuff With My Friends.
Holy crap, I’m going to get political. Strap on your noun kids, it’s going to get fun in here.
First, before you do anything you MUST watch this video. It spells everything out nice and clear (and it’s very well made).
This blog article has been circulating around my circle of Twitter friends for the past few days, and this is what has prompted me to write about this subject.
Sites like Google, Facebook, and Twitter (and a lot more) are threatening to shut down their services to protest the passing of SOPA, just to give everybody a taste of what could potentially happen if SOPA or PIPA passes.
Even though I live and breathe Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, I would still support them going dark in order to rile the internet populace up. Almost 90,000 Tumblr users called their representatives to complain last month… and it doesn’t seem that any of our dark overlords really give a damn what Tumblr users think.
Well… I don’t “get” Tumblr, so I doubt that old people in suits do either, but still, there are a lot of people that love it to death, and I will defend a Tumblr user’s right to make stupid GIFs on the interwebs.
My biggest worry is what would happen to creative types (like myself and those goofy little Tumblr users) if all of these social media sites actually got shut down, not for a day, but for good.
I headed over to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to remember what the internet was like back before Web 2.0. The first thing I looked up was Yahoo, since Google didn’t even exist back then. At the time, Yahoo was a straight-up directory with a search function. You submitted sites for review, Yahoo would put them in the directory, and that’s that. Guess what? Search engines will go back to that because they’ll be too scared of accidentally linking you to pirated content. Blogging thrives on traffic generated from organic search engines, and will be stifled by a directory-based system.
Next up, look at how crappy Wired looks in 1997, as opposed to the image-rich deliciousness that it is now. Now, I’m not saying that SOPA is going to do away with pictures on the internet, but I doubt any site is going to risk accidentally using “copywrited materials”, and that includes pictures that they didn’t take themselves.
Do you see the problem here yet?
If you don’t, think about what that video said. Any site that could possibly have infringing links could be shut down. For selfish reasons, I don’t want this to pass, because I love creating content on the internet. I love blogging. I love podcasting. I love sharing things that I’ve created over the internet with my friends. But that will all change for myself and others if SOPA passes. While I don’t think that I do anything wrong, who knows, maybe someone else will.
The craziest thing about all of this, to me, is that someone who is singing a copywrited song in a video could be subject to penalties, thanks to the RIAA. Guess what? That is how Justin Bieber, cash cow for the music industry, got his start. Does that make sense to anybody? They found this kid, turned him into the biggest celebrity, and now they’re just going to shut down that resource?
Oh wait, I see why, because people are actually doing it themselves now, without the help of the bloated, outdated music industry. Same thing with people who make videos on YouTube. The television and movie industries can’t be happy with user-created entertainment, some of which is much better than what’s on TV right now (looking at you, Whitney).
Some of my close friends use sites like YouTube and SoundCloud to express themselves.
BelieveInKnize and #Guzman2011 put their amazing videos on YouTube:
Podcasts probably won’t be safe either, and my podcast, along with the other Panels on Pages podcasts, will probably be in trouble. Apple will probably have to give up on supporting free, user created podcasts in order to not piss the SOPA Nazis off.
If those sites get shut down, what are we going to do? How do we, the content creators, fight back against people who don’t support creativity? I don’t have the answers. All I can do at the moment is to just keep on keepin’ on.
However, if you have an idea, or a link to a creator-led grassroots movement, let me know in the comments. I prefer a straight fight to all this sneaking around.