Pass SOPA / PIPA and I’ll block all US IP:s
I’m a European citizen, I have no congressmen/congresswomen to turn to, no one to protest to as I fear that the proposed Senate bill S.968 (PIPA) and House bill H.R. 3261 (SOPA) will irrevocably cripple the Internet as we’re used to it.
However, I will not sit quietly and do nothing about it!
Not everything about the Internet is perfect, but among the less wanted phenomena – such as the targeted, occational theft of intellectual property, it has the potential to do great things. It connects people, passes knowledge, overturns vicious governments, entertains, creates jobs, mitigate injustices and is the primary carrier of porn. Like I said, not everything about it is perfect.
However, it does all this because it has a really great infrastructure, almost impossible to untangle or break and most of all, the Internet is really tricky to successfully censor. The only ones with power enough to dent this structure are governments. China does it, North Korea too, and Iran, Syria and Cuba. Not your everyday advocates for free speech or generally open and tolerant societies. These are the usual suspects. Now, the United States of America is about to embark on the same path.
This is not a national issue. What is about to happen here is a truly global tragedy, where the power to control what goes on the net and what doesn’t is delegated to institutions that should not have anything to do with it, bypassing all the legal system that as been carefully put in place over centuries. Net neutrality is at stake here – anyone can sue anyone to take down sites, links, information, people. The bills are vague, legislation will be vague, corporations will follow their tradition to push the boundaries of what’s possible – and now it really will be.
There’s a healthy domestic unease and a lot of protests rising across the Internet. Hundreds of stopSOPA sites, hundreds of thousands signing petitions, people actually marching the streets, but this is politics. The sponsors of the bill think they might have something to gain from passing it, not everyone is in favour of this kind of free speech. Remember the part about porn? Those who truly don’t like that, and other, part of the net might feel that this is the way to go. More control, more censorship, they are not interested in the sites affected. They think.
So here’s my promise to you – dear Congressman or Congresswoman, who holds the future of the free Internet in your hands. If you chose to pass one of these bills, either one of them, I will for the rest of my web publishing life, block all US IP-addresses to any and all web sites that I have such control over until you’ve reversed the decision.
This is a call to action
Do you own or control a web site outside the US? Here’s your chance to put some foreign pressure on the US legislators. Put a reference to this post on your site and say ”I’ll also block all US sites if you go through with this”, or copy this entire text if you want to (I claim no copyright on it and probably even spell bad). Even a comment here with a ”me too” is a way to show support.
If you don’t own a site or control the way they’re accessed, please share this post with others – they might.
/Michael Bingmert (@bingmert)