John Walker's Electronic House


Why People Are Still Failing To Accept The True Horror Of SOPA/PIPA

by on Jan.18, 2012, under Rum Doings, The Rest

I’ve been bleating away on Twitter all day, probably to the horror of anyone who doesn’t follow me via RPS or Rum Doings, and making my opinions on SOPA and PIPA well known. Rather than repeating the definitions of these Acts, and why they’re the most dangerous infringements of free speech and a free internet imaginable, you can learn all that from here.

But there’s something I want to comment on specifically, and it doesn’t fit in a tweet. I’ve tried. Lots of times.

This line from Kotaku’s missive on why they haven’t blacked out their site as part of today’s international protest sums part of it up for me:

“It’s no wonder that an outfit like the League of Legends creators at Riot Games read that and worry that a livestream of a great LoL match could be found in violation of SOPA the moment someone starts singing the lyrics of a copyrighted song on it. Is that really the kind of stifling of the Internet the writers of SOPA and PIPA are seeking?”

Yes! Yes it is. That is precisely the internet they’re seeking. It seems so outlandish that so many news outlets are phrasing it as if it’s a reductio ad absurdum, throwing their hands up and saying, “This bill’s so crazy it would lead to these wacky outcomes!” as if such a result is a parody of the poorly written nature of the bill.

This is to so frighteningly miss the point as to be all but helping those crafting such bills. By reducing the very intent of terrified industries – they who built their empires around plastic squares and discs that have since been rendered pointless – to a perceived exaggeration, something apparently so laughable as to parody the bills’ intentions, is to ignore the reality of what we are facing.

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