PROTECT-IP is a bill that has been introduced in the U.S. Senate and House, and is moving quickly through Congress. It gives the government and corporations the ability to censor the net, in the name of protecting “creativity”. The law would let the government or corporations censor entire sites– they just have to convince a judge that the site is “dedicated to copyright infringement.”
The government has already shut down sites without any recourse to the site owner. Under this bill, sharing a video with anything copyrighted in it, or much of what sites like Facebook, Youtube and Twitter regularly do, would be considered illegal behavior according to this bill. These sites would have to begin censoring every individual contribution, or run the risk of having the whole enchilada shut down.
As an author and songwriter, I’m certainly sympathetic to efforts to protect intellectual property rights
. But I also believe we need to be very, very careful not to throw babies out with bathwater. The Internet
has proven itself to be one of the most astonishing engines of communication and interaction in human history. Given some of the companies backing this legislation, and what we know about the caliber and integrity of many folks on Capitol Hill, I’m extremely leery about this bill.
If you’re interested in learning more, here’s what a group that opposes the proposed legislation has to say:
“According to the Congressional Budget Office, this bill would cost us $47 million tax dollars a year — that’s for a fix that won’t work, disrupts the internet, stifles innovation, shuts out diverse voices, and censors the internet. This bill is bad for creativity and does not protect your rights.”
And here’s a brief video that states the opposition’s case:
Finally, if on balance you feel this bill should not pass, here’s a link that lets you send that message to Congress: fightforthefuture.org/pipa