Really, I meant to black my blog out today, in opposition to SOPA. It was totally going to look like this:
And then I realized that there were two very important problems with this plan, which I shall list below:
- I’m kinda hoping for a lot of traffic this month, because Competitive Cyclist is doing a little bit of a trial balloon on my blog, seeing whether it’s worth it to advertise here. I’d kinda like that answer to come out “yes.” Totally killing ads for a day wouldn’t exactly serve my purposes, and in fact would be at least mildly ironic. (Bonus challenge for motivated readers: try real hard to see if you can find a Competitive Cyclist ad on my site. I know, it’s not easy.)
- The odds are very good that if I somehow managed to black out my site today, I’d never figure out how to get it un-blacked out tomorrow.
- Like BSNYC, I haven’t exactly spent a ton of time researching SOPA / PIPA, and so am not really all that prepared to march in a virtual picket line.
- It’s just too bold a stance to take. My neck out-sticking is pretty much limited to telling people that it’s nice to be nice. Which was pretty darn out-there, I realize.
First off, I learned that SOPA stands for “Stop Online Piracy Act.” Which sounds good, because we all like to act like we don’t steal music off the web, except for when we talk with other people who steal music off the web, in which circumstances we tend to brag about how much music we’ve stolen off the web.
Except me, by the way. I haven’t stolen a single song off the web, ever. At least, not since Napster went under.
Anyways, the problem with SOPA is that it’s too expansive. It overshoots piracy and lands in the realm of censorship. And as a guy who goes out of his way to make it easy to communicate (I leave my commenting system totally open), that feels manifestly uncool.
PIPA on the other hand, isn’t even an acronym. It’s just a silly sound. OK, that’s not true. PIPA stands for Protect IP Act. Here, “IP” stands for “Internet Protocol.” Honestly, I didn’t even know Internet Protocols were under attack, so I don’t know what the big deal is here.
OK, fine. “IP” in this instance probably stands for “Intellectual Property.” And PIPA actually stands for Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (really!), which means that whoever created this bill put a whole bunch of words together that don’t make any sense at all in the order they’re in, hoping nobody would notice and would just call the act “PROTECT IP.”
Of course, that acronym only works if you’re friends with the guy who created the bill and place the space where he wanted. Otherwise you could call it “PROTEC TIP,” which makes it sound like a badly-named brand of condom. Which is actually pretty metaphorically accurate.
So which is worse, “PROTEC TIP” or “PIPA?” You’ll have to decide for yourself.
Call To Action
Here’s what to do: go to Google’s SOPA/PIPA landing page and sign the petition, because — as you know — petitions pretty much always work.
Or better yet, you could actually contact your representatives. Wikipedia has a nice tool to help you find out who they are and how to contact them, accessible right from their home page.
Thank you. Oh, and just for fun, here’s that black square again.