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Will 2012 Be 1984: DRM and SOPA are Breaking The Internet!

Imagine a world where someone has a monopoly over the media, backed by the power to ban personal privacy and political dissent and capable of preventing people from public gathering and collective discussion without due process, judicial review or any evidence!

Sound familiar?!

Some of you might venture a guess that the above text reads like a passage from George Orwell’s 1984.

Others might say that it sounds like the situation under the totalitarian regimes of the former Eastern Block or any other contemporary autoritarian.

It is vital to realize, however, that this is not only fiction. This is not just the situation in some geographically obscure country stuck in the last 6 seconds of the evening newscast.

This is infact the future reality that we might be facing today, here, in the “free world.”

This is Canada, the United States and the European Union.

Attempts at removing privacy switches and settings on the internet, Digital Rights Management (DRM) software which literary takes over your computer and legislation such as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), Canada’s Bill C32 and the notorious European internet disconection laws for cutting people off from the internet without due process, judicial review or even the spec of any evidence, are threatening our freedom.

Are we not following in the steps of Syria and China in building national firewalls, even if it is “to block pirates”?

Can we have global phenomena such as the Arab Spring in such a context?

Did we forget that the Russian government used software piracy as a pretext for confiscating activists’ computers and the Chinese government used it to silence the 2008 Beijing Olympics critics and other political dissent?

Are we not outraged to hear that Congressional staffers behind SOPA get shiny new jobs as entertainment industry lobbyists?

So, what can I do, you may ask?

Well, you can start like Seth Godin by asking and finding out Who wants to break the internet?

Then you can watch the short 4 min SOPA video backgrounder and 1 (or both) of the Cory Doctorow videos below to learn about the issues in the easiest way possible.

Cory takes us beyond the idiotic dichotomy “copyright protection is good” vs “copyright protection is bad” and instead asks a very simple question:

What do we want copyright to do and how do we accomplish that?

The answer is easy: We want copyright that fosters innovation and protects the rights of content creators while providing the best net benefit to consumers.

Then we look at what we have now, get angry, get off our sofas, pick up the phone or start our word-editors and begin making a lot of noise.

We write to our congressmen!

We name and shame the people and companies who challenge our freedoms!

We name and shame the politicians who prefer to serve the above sorry lot rather than their true constituents!

We sign up the petition at AmericanCensorship.org

We kick ass,  get things done and change the world!

We stop SOPA and prevent 2012 from becoming 1984!


A Short 4 min Backgrouder: Protect IP/SOPA Breaks the Internet


Khan Academy explains SOPA/PIPA


The Fall Of SOPA

The SOPA debacle explained in 3 minutes.


Clay Shirky’s TED Talk on Why SOPA is a Bad Idea


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  • http://cmstewartwrite.wordpress.com/ CMStewart

    And now we also have the NDAA, and it seems people don’t care. I spend so much time writing and sending letters, even though I realize politicians are going to do what will get them re-elected. Pervasive human rights and animal rights abuses, government-supported anti-environmental industries, and government-sanctioned censorship. It gets overwhelming at times.

  • https://www.singularityweblog.com/ Socrates

    Thank you for your point Cynthia! I also agree with you that at times the problems we are facing seem overwhelming but we must persist and never give up, we must fight for our rights!

  • http://cmstewartwrite.wordpress.com/ CMStewart

    Yes, we must keep striving for transparency, freedom of information, and rationality. Then hope humaneness will follow. Thanks for the reminder, Nikola. :)

  • Pingback: Copyright was Just the Beginning: Cory Doctorow at Chaos on the Coming War on General Computation()

  • http://cmstewartwrite.wordpress.com/ CMStewart
  • http://cmstewartwrite.wordpress.com/ CMStewart
  • https://www.singularityweblog.com/ Socrates

    Yes Cynthia, thank you for posting these. I myself am still considering if I should do the same, though, what is stopping me is that my meager traffic drop is unlikely to be noticed by the people who make those decisions in the US congress and so on…

  • http://cmstewartwrite.wordpress.com/ CMStewart

    I am blacking out my blog for the day. I inserted code to overlay a grey screen and display a huge “STOP SOPA” link. Maybe a couple people will see it and educate themselves. And maybe they will join in the protest of this draconian legislation. This legislation would negatively effect me and the entire world, so I choose to speak as loudly as I can on it. Whether my protest is noticed among the millions of protests is extremely doubtful. Yet I will continue to practice what I preach, join forces with other protesters, and contact my elected officials. Maybe my protest will be the tipping point for somebody with more influence than I have. And at the end of the day, I will know I did what I could.

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  • Lu Lu

    Now A Swartz, another young talent, is murdered. Who will be the next?
    Or, for the less adventurous of us, a “nicer” way to circumvent the (dinosaur) laws?

  • Pingback: Ann Cavoukian on Singularity 1 on 1: We have to protect privacy globally or we protect it nowhere!()

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