Shedding Some Light During the Blackout (SOPA & PIPA)


Isn’t it Ironic
“Ironic” is a term that gets overused and even misused a lot, but I think we’ve got a solid case of Irony here: the freedom and innovation inspired by the openness of the Internet is the very thing that clobbered the bill that would have stifled the freedom and innovation of the Internet.

It’s true, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) has been shelved. SOPA was authored with hopes to curb online piracy by preventing the likes of Google and Yahoo from sending users to sites distributing stolen materials. It would also allow for litigation if copyright was being infringed. It’s a concept backed by the likes of cable giant Comcast as well as the Motion Picture Association of America. They point to lost revenues as a reason for the legislation, but underneath SOPA’s pirate-fighting veneer is an ugly and misguided soul.

What Name.com Is Doing

We’ve gathered some talking points that better explain SOPA, and it’s creepy little brother, PIPA (Protect IP Act), not simply to better illustrate the House and Senate bills, respectively, but so that we can all be prepared when these pop up again. And they will. SOPA isn’t dead, it’s just being retooled for another run. PIPA is still alive as well (this video is an amazing PIPA primer.)

We at Name.com know we’re but a small vibe in the collective voice that sent shock waves to Washington, D.C. Back on December 29th we showed our support by offering to donate 10 cents for every retweet of our #stopSOPA page explaining both our stance and why this is such an important issue. However, when the dust settled the total contribution it would have required was not enough. Instead, to pay tribute and support those who make their life’s work to keep the Internet the bastion of freedom that it is, we are going to make $1000 donations to each of the following organizations:

Electronic Frontier Foundation – For over twenty years they’ve been confronting cutting-edge issues to defend free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights.
Creative Commons – Borrowing directly from their About Us page: “To achieve the vision of universal access, someone needed to provide a free, public, and standardized infrastructure that creates a balance between the reality of the Internet and the reality of copyright laws.”
The Case Foundation – Jean and Steve Case worked on the Internet before most knew there was an Internet. Their foundation works, in part, to, “broaden the use of new technologies to make giving more informed, efficient, and effective.”

What the Critics Are Saying

It’s important you get the chance to read for yourself about SOPA and PIPA. We have, and we’re happy to have our thought’s articulated by the following people and organizations (here are your talking points):

The White House: “We will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.” It even threw in that they would not support a bill that tampered with the “technical architecture of the Internet.”
Steve Benen, Washington Monthly: “Misguided efforts to combat online privacy have been threatening to stifle innovation, suppress free speech, and even, in some cases, undermine national security. As of yesterday, though, there’s a lot less to worry about. “
Congressman Darrell Issa (on the #OPEN alternative): First, Americans have a right to benefit from what they’ve created. And second, Americans have a right to an open internet. Our duty is to protect these rights. That’s why congressional Republicans and Democrats came together to write the OPEN Act. But it’s only a start. Visit www.KeepTheWebOpen.com to see the details, comment, collaborate, and help build a better bill.
Google, via CNET: “Like many businesses, entrepreneurs and web users, we oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking American companies to censor the Internet. So tomorrow we will be joining many other tech companies to highlight this issue on our US home page.”
As a for-profit company reared in a free-market capitalist society, we must be prepared to defend our opposition to legislation that proposes to save money. Freedom and shared creativity can’t always be quantified for the skeptical person wondering why we wouldn’t quickly capitulate to the bottom line. (After all…freedom IS the bottom line!) Turns out, however, that Tim O’ Reilly has been thinking about this:

Tim O’ Reilly: While the existing music companies were focused on fighting file sharing, Apple went on to provide a compelling new way to buy and enjoy music, and became the largest music retailer in the world. While book publishers have been fighting the imagined threat of piracy, Amazon, not pirates, has become the biggest threat to their business by offering authors an alternative way to reach the market without recourse to their former gatekeepers.
Hollywood too, has a history of fighting technologies, such as the VCR, which developed into a larger market than the one the industry was originally trying to protect.
In short, SOPA and PIPA not only harm the internet, they support existing content companies in their attempt to hold back innovative business models that will actually grow the market and deliver new value to consumers.

 

So the very forces fighting for SOPA and PIPA are actually hindering their own progress? Now that’s irony.

Let’s all hold hands and sing…

 

We want to thank Google, AOL, Mozilla, eBay, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Yahoo! and Zynga for using their muscle to in a signed letter to the members of the Congressoinal Judiiciary Committee. We also want to give huge shoutouts to Reddit, Wikipedia, BoingBoing and countless other sites observing the 24-hour blackout to show their opposition to the bills. And like an Oscar acceptance speech that’s gone too long…thank you @namedotcom Twitter followers who kept us informed like @techzader, @bfeld, @livet0ski and @swirlee…let us know if we’ve overlooked you!

Now, get the word out! Tweet, Like, Share, and Email this page to everyone! Then, send people to HERE to get code to black out their own site.




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