first, the TL;DR version: Go to americancensorship.org and sign their petition. Or better yet, write your congresspeople personally.
WALL O' TEXT TIME!
There are, before the US Congress, two Internet Blacklist bills that threaten the foundations of civil rights.
These bills, which are pushed hard by (among others) the RIAA, the MPAA, and the US Department of Commerce, require no due process to blacklist your web site, blocking it from search engines and being served by your Internet Service Provider. Further, they would prevent owners of blacklisted sites from receiving funds from banks, Paypal, or other financial services.
All just because someone thought you violated a copyright.
Look, I'm all for copyright. It's the way people earn their livelihood. People who steal that are the scum of the earth. They deserve punishment. I'm not even necessarily against making copyright violation a felony in certain circumstances (currently the only way to punish IP violators in the US is with a civil lawsuit).
But these two bills (The Protect IP Act before the Senate and the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) before the House) not only curtail any need for proof of violation or even notifying the accused violator of the transgression, but they hold third- and fourth-parties responsible for policing. If someone shows up on your site and posts a bogus link, YOUR site gets blocked. The actual violator isn't ever pursued.
Is there an appeal? Nope. You get blocked, tough rocks, pal.
The MPAA and the RIAA have already demonstrated a willingness to rabidly attack perceived violators who haven't actually done anything wrong. If you doubt that this law will be thoroughly and extensively abused, than you're a fool.
These laws would create a censorship streak comparable to the "Great Firewall" of China. And that is not a rhetorical exaggeration. Huge chunks of the Internet, including, most likely, all of Deviant Art and any other art portal you visit. Reddit and other aggregates, Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. All of them will get shut down or badly blocked up.
Let me repeat again that victims do not have to be guilty of anything to get screwed over by this law. You could be using licensed media and if someone erroneously reports you they aren't going to look into it. You could be creating something considered fair use. You could be doing something that is WHOLLY YOUR OWN. There is no provision to protect defendants. If you don't think those things can happen, you haven't paid attention to DA. How many stolen artwork dramas do you see every frigging day here? How many of those thieves claim the creator stole from them? They just need to be faster on the draw and the creator LOSES while the thief profits.
These bills don't protect anything but the abusive powers gained by the money huge industries have.
But wait, it gets worse!
The committees that heard testimony on the bills didn't even invite one person opposed to the bill to testify
. They are railroading this through Congress and trying to make it look like everyone loves it.
Everything about these bills is unethical and bad policy. Everything.
It really pisses me off that the U.S. Department of Commerce supports these bills. They've been pushing it with misleading radio commercials that make it look like it's in the interest of individuals when only moneyed corporations will get anything from it.
Mr. Obama, I voted for you in 2008. But get your lackeys in line. Tell the DoC, which is under your authority, to knock that shit off. If you don't call off these mangy hounds, I will actively campaign against you in 2012. This will do so much more harm than the good you have done in the last (nearly) 3 years.
Ok, people, so here's where you can learn more and where you can do something about it. Not everyone has the time to campaign against even these important issues, but it only takes a few moments to help a little:
American Censorship .org. [link]
They're a coalition of groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Google, Mozilla, and the American Civil Liberties Union. They strongly oppose these bills. And they have a lot of information about how it works there. Most importantly they have an automatic letter dealy. Sign it and they will forward a standard letter to your representatives in Congress.
They also have convenient graphics you can put on any web sites you have. Most important, LINK BACK to americancensorship.org so that others can participate.
You can also go to [link]
and use their letter writer.
Best yet, write a personal letter. You can email these to your representatives. Using just your zip code and/or state, you can find your reps at [link]
All representatives have a convenient form to get letters to them.
If you have more time consider sending the sponsors of the bills your objections.
Here's a list of sponsors for the Protect IP Act: [link]
And for SOPA: [link]
(you have to click "view sponsors"
SOPA is in committee. These are the Representatives who need to hear that this bill is bullshit: [link]
Tell them to knock that shit off, plz.
The Protect IP act is out of committee, meaning it's dangerously close to passage in the Senate.
Here are the resources I used for this stamp:
You can post this on your website with this code (you can mess with styles and sizes, but not other contents):
<div style="text-align:center; padding:3px; width:100%;"&rt;<a href="http://americancensorship.org" target="_blank"&rt;<img src="http://herbertlives.com/misc/images/stop_censorship.gif" alt="Stop Censorship! Stamp by Charessa Reilly" /&rt;</a></div>