Cool Toys Pic of the day – SOPA Countdown / Blackout SOPA / American Censorship

I’m all about freedom of speech, freedom of information, open
education, open science, transparency, etcetera. So the blackout
starts in a couple hours. I blogged about it yesterday so you’d all
have more warning than I can give you today.

Want to participate in the blackout or support it? Check out yesterday’s post or go to American Censorship.

American Censorship:
http://americancensorship.org/

Need an image to black out your Twitter or Facebook stream, or a
banner for your blog? Get them at BlackOut SOPA.

Blackout SOPA:
http://www.blackoutsopa.org/

When is this really happening? You can find that at the SOPA Countdown.

SOPA Countdown:
http://sopacountdown.com/

Or can you? Read on, things are changing, even as we speak.

The bill is on-again, off-again, but folks tracking it have already
pointed to some new bills with similar missions. What they say is
true. With the big guns behind this, like Disney and the MPAA behind
this idea, it won’t go away. They’ll keep proposing new bills. There
are more in the works even now. So here’s a few little tidbits to
think about. While folks were gearing up for the tail end of the this
fight to preserve important freedoms, the White House responded to
petitions about SOPA, basically saying there are some real problems
with the current form of the legislation.

Combating Online Piracy while Protecting an Open and Innovative Internet
By Victoria Espinel, Aneesh Chopra, and Howard Schmidt
https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petition-tool/response/combating-online-piracy-wh…

““We will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression,
increases cybersecurity risk or undermines the dynamic, innovative
global Internet. …
Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of
online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation
by our dynamic businesses large and small. …
We must avoid creating new cybersecurity risks or disrupting the
underlying architecture of the Internet. …
We expect and encourage all private parties, including both content
creators and Internet platform providers working together, to adopt
voluntary measures and best practices to reduce online piracy.”

Obama Administration Responds to We the People Petitions on SOPA and
Online Piracy:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/01/14/obama-administration-responds-we-pe…

“The White House has responded to two petitions about legislative
approaches to combat online piracy. In their response, Victoria
Espinel, Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator at Office of
Management and Budget, Aneesh Chopra, U.S. Chief Technology Officer,
and Howard Schmidt, Special Assistant to the President and
Cybersecurity Coordinator for National Security Staff stress that the
important task of protecting intellectual property online must not
threaten an open and innovative internet.”

White House Says It Opposes Parts of Two Antipiracy Bills:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/us/white-house-says-it-opposes-parts-of-2-a…

“The bills currently under consideration in Congress were intended to
combat the theft of copyrighted materials by preventing American
search engines like Google and Yahoo from directing users to sites
that allow for the distribution of stolen materials. They would cut
off payment processors like PayPal that handle transactions.
The bills would also allow private citizens and companies to sue to
stop what they believed to be theft of protected content. Those and
other provisions set off fierce opposition among Internet companies,
technology investors and free speech advocates, who said the bills
would stifle online innovation, violate the First Amendment and even
compromise national security by undermining the integrity of the
Internet’s naming system.”

What happened next? Well, Congress decided they better go back to the
drawing board and rethink this.

Controversial online piracy bill shelved until ‘consensus’ is found
http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/204167-sopa-shelved-until…

Putting SOPA on a shelf:
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2012_01/putting_sopa_on_a_s…

So, everything is good, right? The bill has been canceled. No one
needs to worry. It’s gone. But the momentum is still going, and the
SOPA strike is still being planned, and more folk are signing up for
it all the time. Does that seem … illogical? Is the strike still
needed? The folks who’ve been pushing for SOPA seem to think that
continuing with the strike is basically ill-mannered and ill-bred.
Danny Sullivan used stronger language to describe what their view was.

MPAA issues statement slamming SOPA/PIPA “blackout” protests as
“dangerous gimmick”. By Xeni Jardin at 1:24 pm Tuesday, Jan 17:
http://boingboing.net/2012/01/17/mpaa-issues-statement-on-jan.html

Motion Picture Association of America:
http://mpaa.org/resources/c4c3712a-7b9f-4be8-bd70-25527d5dfad8.pdf

“It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely
on them for information and use their services. It is also an abuse of
power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace
today. It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms
that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to
incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.”

Does this mean that the MPAA doesn’t do things to further their
corporate interests?

OpenCongress: S.968 – PROTECT IP Act of 2011: Money:
http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-s968/money

Oh. I guess someone is spending a lot of money to lobby! $6,672,497 to
support SOPA vs. $4,839,707 to oppose it, and that just mentions the
top recipients of donations. As Danny pointed out, does that mean buy
people’s consent with money is OK, but inspiring action is not? Now,
where is the real passion here? I’m remembering a song I used to sing
way back when … “‘Tis sad when you think of her wasted life, for
youth cannot mate with age, and her beauty was sold for an old man’s
gold … She’s a bird in a gilded cage.” I don’t know that I agree
with the ageism of the song’s lyrics, but the idea that there is
something different between actions inspired by money and those
inspired by passion does seem to be relevant.

So back to the blackout. You’d be surprised how many people I’ve seen
who were ready to call it quits, and just let the big boys handle the
blackout. Then they read the MPAA document. Now, they are even
angrier, and even MORE people are joining the blackout. It is pretty
obvious that even if SOPA does die, this is just one skirmish. The
original mission of the blackout was to let people find out, in a very
small way, what life might feel like if this bill, or others like it,
pass. That might still be a useful and valuable lesson, you know. Just
maybe.

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