SOPA, the bill that could put an end to Seibertron.com
Seibertron.com is first and foremost a Transformers-themed website dedicated to, staffed, and fuelled by fans of the Transformers franchise. Over the past 12 years we have been active, we have tried to avoid politics and too much involvement with the outside world as our interest is in the war on Cybertron and its universe beyond, not in domestic policy and law, so when we do decide to get involved please understand that it's over what we feel is a matter of great importance.
I have not written anything like this before and have borrowed very heavily from Tom's Hardware's post on the subject as it is by far the best bulletin I have seen to date, relating directly to real world examples of posters actions. This article is here to inform you about a couple of scary bills that could end Seibertron.com and the Internet we all know and love. SOPA is a bill in the House (and PIPA is it's Senate equivalent) that threatens to fundamentally change the way the internet works by placing excessive restrictions on user generated content such as forum posts and video and image uploads.
The intention of this topic is to cover 4 points:
- To explain and examine the bills
- To highlight the extent of the damage they can do to Seibertron.com (as well as the Internet)
- What our members can do to help stop this.
- To give a sense of urgency to the situation. PIPA is up for review on Jan 24th so we don't have much time.
The basics of the law are:
- It would require web services like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to monitor and aggressively filter everything all users upload.
- It would deny site owners due process of law, by initiating a DNS blacklisting based solely on a good faith assertion by an individual copyright or intellectual property owner.
- It would give the U.S. government the power to selectively censor the web using techniques similar to those used in China, Malaysia and Iran. The Great Firewall of China is an example of this type of embedded, infrastructural internet censorship.
Spricket24 from YouTube gives a good summary of the problems we face (6+ min)
And a more detailed view is registered by John "TotalBiscuit" Bain, and is the most watched video on the subject on YouTube (20+ min)
Now lets look at an example that applies directly to us here at Seibertron.com. Imagine one of our fellow Seibertronians posts a video clip here on our message board of a step-by-step review of a brand new figure. Playing in the background behind the voice-over is "The Touch" by Stan Bush. The studio representing Stan Bush could issue a complaint, without being required to notify us or request a take-down. Seibertron.com would be liable and prosecuted solely on a good faith assertion of the copyright owner, without notification, with the site operators subject to possible jail time for not preventing the video from being posted. In short order, the http://www.seibertron.com/ domain in the United States would no longer resolve to our servers and visitors attempting to come to Seibertron.com would be redirected to a “This site under review for piracy/copyright violations” page. Now apply the same principle to the character designs and their likenesses used in your avatars and sigs, the Heavy Metal War altmodes, TransTopia figure photographs, Mosiac comics and more.
To conform to these new restrictions would mean that Seibertron.com would have to switch to a review/approval process for any and all new posts to our forums and articles. Our community team would have to approve every single news comment, every new thread, and every new response before it went live and filter them for potentially infringing material. Even so, we would still possibly be under threat from violations not caught – a user recolouring an image from a Marvel/DW/IDW comic as an example or a snippet of Transformers news from another website in excess of a certain summary threshold. That’s just here on Seibertron. The effect on sites like YouTube, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and the rest of the internet would be devastating, and these popular sites would simply disappear.
The intent of the legislation is to stop piracy, which isn’t affected in the least by this approach. Unfortunately the legislation in the House and Senate has a wide margin of bi-partisan support and looks likely to pass after the holidays. Believe it or not, your Congress representatives do count the number of calls and emails they get on a particular issue, and most of the time only the people in their jurisdiction (read- you) can sway their opinion on something – so your action on this is important.
The Center for Democracy and Technology have released this .pdf as a guide to the key points of contention within this bill. We ask that as many of you as possible read this and then contact your representatives and tell them you oppose the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House. This act wont stop itself, the internet needs people to take action if it is to remain the free global resource it is today. If you wish to know more about this issue, it is recommended that you visit the Protect Innovation project where you can go into more depth on the issue and download a 'briefing kit' that contains, in detail, the opposition to this bill. Please also be sure to hit the Share buttons at the top of your page to tell your friends about this on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter... whilst you still can.
Here are some links to websites actively actively engaging poeple to help stop SOPA:
- Stop American Censorship - Submit letters to Congress, petition the State Department, etc.
- Stop Censorship - Fill out this form to have your name potentially read during a fillibuster.
- Save the Internet! - A big ongoing petition.
- And here is a link that can give you more information and provide you with contact info for your elected official.
Act now because time is short, PIPA goes before the Senate on Jan 25th.
The Seibertron.com Staff.
Examples structure taken from Tom's Hardware's excellent news post regarding SOPA.
Other references taken from YouTube (search:SOPA), Reddit.com and Wikipedia.
The problem is, that whilst the most relevant issue to us is discussed, there are many others that probably need to be addressed in the conversation such as this, Newgrounds explaining in more direct language how DCMA Blacklisting will work, sharing the public copy of the letter to the Senate and House from AOL, eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo! and Zynga outlining their concerns and opposition to this bill and maybe even 25 things you need to know about SOPA?