As our friend Cory Doctorow explained two days ago on BoingBoing, “In order to link to a URL on LiveJournal or WordPress or Twitter or Blogspot, we’d have to first confirm that no one had ever made an infringing link, anywhere on that site. Making one link would require checking millions (even tens of millions) of pages, just to be sure that we weren’t in some way impinging on the ability of five Hollywood studios, four multinational record labels, and six global publishers to maximize their profits. [...] If we failed to take this precaution, our finances could be frozen, our ad broker forced to pull ads from our site, and depending on which version of the bill goes to the vote, our domains confiscated.” BoingBoing cannot continue under such a legal regimen, and neither can we.
In blacking out our site today, we are joining thousands of others doing the same. A substantial list can be found at sopastrike.com. More information about these bills, and what you can do right now to help defeat them, can be found at americancensorship.org and at the always-essential Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Among the big media businesses supporting these bills is Macmillan US, the publishing conglomerate of which Tor Books is a part. Intentionally or not, in a very real sense our employer is trying to destroy our web site. As Cory Doctorow points out, in supporting legislation so patently and obviously destructive, the Hollywood studios and Big Six publishing companies are behaving in a manner precisely described by the legal term “depraved indifference.” Cory continues:
Big Content haven’t just declared war on Boing Boing and Reddit and the rest of the “fun” Internet: they’ve declared war on every person who uses the net to publicize police brutality, every oppressed person in the Arab Spring who used the net to organize protests and publicize the blood spilled by their oppressors, every abused kid who used the net to reveal her father as a brutalizer of children, every gay kid who used the net to discover that life is worth living despite the torment she’s experiencing, every grassroots political campaigner who uses the net to make her community a better place — as well as the scientists who collaborate online, the rescue workers who coordinate online, the makers who trade tips online, the people with rare diseases who support each other online, and the independent creators who use the Internet to earn their livings.Incidentally, NY Tech Meetup plans a rally against SOPA and PIPA, today from 12:30 to 2 PM, at the New York City offices of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, both of whom support PIPA and both of whom have, so far, refused to personally meet with opponents of the bills. This will take place at 780 Third Avenue, near 49th Street. NY Tech Meetup is a pretty substantial organization with a lot of reach, so this could be interesting.
The contempt for human rights on display with SOPA and PIPA is more than foolish. Foolishness can be excused. It’s more than greed. Greed is only to be expected. It is evil, and it must be fought.
Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden