Tuesday, January 17, 2012

First Cyber Strike Ever in the World

Today, at midnight, many of the usual and important sites we have taken for granted will have a 24-hour black out, worldwide, for all their English speaking sites, we’re witnessing the first ever cyber strike. The reason for this, and we should show our solidarity by following their example whether it is by stopping all cyber activity (logging off from Facebook, Tweeter, Yahoo, Skype, just to mention a few) or, in the event that you own an URL address, shutting down for 24 hours, it is easy to do and it will send a strong message.

The Protect IP Act, better known as PIPA, will allow the government and U.S. corporations to pursue legal action against any website which they BELIEVE might be violating copyright laws; it doesn’t matter if these violations originate in the United States or not. You may think this is the correct thing to do in order to protect the rights of those who’s copyright properties are being stolen, and you are probably right however, the key in this simple statement is that all it would take is for these corporations and the government to take action is for them to believe these sites are publishing music, videos and the likes illegally, in other words, guilty until proven innocent.

It doesn’t stop there, if it did it would be bad but at least we can fairly assume that if the copyright owner accuses a site of distributing their work without their permission it is because that site is breaking the law. I still prefer the concept of innocent until proven guilty, but at least there is almost a guarantee that the site is guilty. The problem is that, not content with pursuing sites that might be breaking the law, these U.S. corporations and the government will block sites for advertising other sites that might infringe the law, the same goes for search engines, blogs, directories and everything else that the ‘electronic age’ has access to. Almost everyone will be guilty – who hasn’t downloaded a song? We all have watched and heard our favorite singer or group for free through YouTube, that alone will constitute a crime, these sites as well as ourselves will be criminals under the law!

Suing these sites is not enough, of course. The corporations and government will prohibit advertisers from doing business with these sites – and we can be assured who will pick up the bill: us.
Then, we have the Stop Online Piracy Act, also known as SOPA. The House of Representatives created this bill, specifically Lamar Smith, Republican, Representative for the State of Texas (why is it that lately I sense an overproduction of morons originating from the State of Texas?); Rep. Smith is unwilling to back off from it. This bill works in conjunction with PIPA but it goes a step further. If this bill passes, it will allow private corporations and the government to put any site they deem necessary out of business (again, guilty unless proven innocent). This bill will grant the U.S. Attorney General to seek a court order that will prohibit any other company from having any contact whatsoever with the accused site, this includes advertisers, search engines, providers, servers, etc. PIPA also allows private corporations from contacting the payment processors and block them from issuing a check for payment to a website if they feel that they are breaking their copyrights – it is fair to mention that PIPA doesn’t say the accusers will need a court order for this, it will be from corporation to corporation, this is unheard of!

In other words, it is a witch-hunt. We will be back to the days when by the simple accusation from one person, which may or may not be right, will exterminate another. Gone will be the days of privacy, the sites and engines will be exposed to these corporations and the government for them to do whatever they want with that information.

I sympathize with the authors, writers, musicians, artists, photographers and the likes that are trying to protect their work, it is only fair that they get remunerated for what its legally theirs but, changing the law to allow this infringement of our privacy, to exterminate a company and taking it out of business on the mere suspicion that they are distributing copyrighted material without permission it’s too much. What’s wrong with a hefty fine or penalty?

These are the sites that will be blacked out on January 18:

A Softer World
Strategy Tune
Bread Without Bullets
The LeakyWiki
Center for Technology and Democracy
Greenpeace International
nomacs Image Lounge
The RawStory
City News
Icanhazcheezburger network sites (FailBlog, thedailyWhat,Know Your Meme, etc)
Open Congress/PPF
Tor Project
Colossal Mind
Crypto Cat
Internet Archive
Universal Subtitles
Dateline Zero
iSchool at Syracuse University
Plaque Studio
Jazz Sequence
Victor Rix
Libety Confidential
Red 5 studios
Major League Gaming
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Ron Bercume Design
Elephant Talk Wiki
Errata Security
Monticello Capitol
Focus On the Facts
Smirking Chimp
WPS Security Lock
Spurs of the Moment


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