January 18 Blackout

This post (and, for the day, banner) is my humble addition to the many, many sites blacked out or bannered today. I’m sure anyone who has found their way here is well aware that the copyright industry is trying to buy some laws (SOPA, H.R.3261 and PIPA, S.968) that will allow them censor the Internet, destroy website’s ability to host user-submitted content, break electronic security and verification systems, and generally harm both free speech and the technology sector. Under these laws, companies could compel search engines to remove search results, payment processors to block payments, and DNS providers to delist URLs without legal process or oversight, simply because they deem some piece of content objectionable.
The stated goal of these is to curtail copyright infringement – an objective for which these measures will be completely ineffective, as they are all trivially defeated by an even modestly determined or technically competent user. This means so the sole effect would be damage to free speech and technological progress.

This is unacceptable.

I have very little faith in the effectiveness of “Contact your Congresscritter” campaigns, but if you have not done so, please Contact your Congresscritters, and make sure the people around you understand that this is about keeping frightened content industries from attempting to destroy the Internet.

EDIT: Edited to add a link to Reddit’s breakdown of the relevant bills. It is remarkably compact and even handed, particularly considering this is Reddit we are talking about.

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