“The liberties of our country, the freedoms of our civil Constitution are worth defending at all hazards; it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors. They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood. It will bring a mark of everlasting infamy on the present generation – enlightened as it is – if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of designing men.” -Samuel Adams
In case you’ve never heard of it the Khan Academy is an AMAZING online learning resource. There are videos covering a huge range of topics and more are added daily. They do a very good job of explaining some high level concepts as well as the basics across multiple subject areas. Recently they posted up a video under American Civics that explains the SOPA & PIPA bills. Using the exact language of the bills and demonstrating how that language could be interpreted they expose this legislation for what it is – tyranny.
As I hope you gathered from the video in the link above the problem with these horrible pieces of legislation is the tyranny that is so subtly interjected into their language. Taken to an extreme – using the language that exists in the bill today – if a Federal agent asked me what I was doing (with or without a warrant) and I refused to answer their questions (either because I didn’t want to or because I was exercising my 5th Amendment rights) I could be found guilty under this law, my sites shut down, any accounts that may be tied to major processing sites frozen or cut off entirely, and possibly even be thrown in prison. Simply for “taking deliberate action to avoid confirming” (not answering questions) that my site MAY be doing something that this bill considers illegal. That would include posting a video of say Sydney’s dolls having a fashion show and using a current pop song to walk the runway.
I am all for protecting the intellectual property rights of others but not at the expense of our personal liberties. Not by giving the government the ability to prove me guilty on a whim, without significant proof, and without recourse. Since blackout day there has been some progress made and it seems that some elected officials are starting to see the light. The vote will not happen until the 24th (next Tuesday) so there is still time to contact your senators directly and explain to them how short their political careers will be should they vote in favor of yet another law designed to strip us of our liberty. Even if you do nothing more than sign the online petition – we need to do something and we need to do something now. The government already has the right to stop our interstate travel, to damn near strip search us before getting on a plane, and to designate us an “enemy combatants” and detain us indefinitely without cause – don’t let them take the internet away too.