Today, you’re going to hear a million solid reasons why SOPA and PIPA — the two proposed bills sponsored by the entertainment industry to censor the web — have to die. Wikipedia, Google, Reddit, craigslist, Metafilter, and many, many more have made their cases. Here’s mine.
Virtually every project I’ve ever worked on is threatened by this legislation:
Upcoming.org faced copyright complaints for event posters and listings that users added to the site.
Kickstarter gets DMCA takedowns from artists who find their work used in pitch videos, and from project founders quarreling with each other.
Supercut.org indexes hundreds of video remixes that reuse copyrighted content.
Kind of Bloop faced a lawsuit over the cover art.
And here on Waxy.org, I’ve had a number of battles over copyright. Among them, I received a cease-and-desist from EMI for being the first person to host DJ Danger Mouse’s Grey Album on the web, from Disney for hosting the Kleptones’ Night at the Hip-Hopera, and from Bill Cosby for hosting House of Cosbys, which was clearly fair use as a parody.
Every cease-and-desist and DMCA request I’ve received wasn’t fun to get in my inbox, but it allowed me to deal with the issues directly with the copyright holder or using the due process of the court system.
Imagine, instead, a world where a bill like SOPA or PIPA passes. A copyright holder could bypass due process entirely, demanding that search engines stop linking to my sites, ad providers drop me, and force DNS providers not to resolve my domain name. All in the name of stopping piracy.
The chilling effect would be huge.
Every online community that allows for community-contributed content — discussion forums, imageboards, Usenet newsgroups, photo sharing communities, video sites, and many more — would be forced to pre-emptively self-censor, shut down, or risk getting blown off the net entirely.
That fucking sucks.
Everything I love about the web requires the unfettered freedom to build new ways to let people express themselves, and with that, comes the risk of copyright infringement.
Breaking the web isn’t a solution.
Please take 10 minutes today to call your representatives — or show up in person! –and let them know you won’t stand for this. SOPA and PIPA must die.