Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Save the Internet

There is a bill currently being discussed in the US Congress right now that could fundamentally cripple the Internet as we know it, with significant implications for freedom of speech, innovation and internet integrity.

Known as the 'Protect IP Act', this bill is described by Congress as a 'bill to prevent online threats to economic creativity and theft of intellectual property, and for other purposes.' What this would mean in practice is that the US government would have a very powerful tool in its armory for shutting down websites that were accused of  allowing user-generated content that infringed copyright law. In other words, the US government would be able to shut down Facebook, Twitter or YouTube if 'pirated content' was discovered hosted by any of these sites. As so much of our lives are now either lived online or affected by unseen transactions that happen in the online world, the passing of this bill could potentially become the point at which the internet revolution is stopped in its tracks.

It also has a counterpart bill being discussed in the House of Representatives, known as SOPA (or 'Stop Online Piracy Act'). Supporters which line up behind the bill include the likes of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Microsoft. On the other side, organisations against the bill include the likes of Google, Yahoo! and Human Rights Watch. 

Watch the video above for the simple message about this bill. Then (if you are American), visit FightForTheFuture.org and register your opposition. 

For a more detailed and far longer piece that gives a great insight into the whole thing, visit this article from O'Reilly Radar.

Don't let this thing get passed.