I’m writing you, my friends and clients, to ask that you join me in fighting to save the internet.
Conventional wisdom says that you shouldn’t bring up politics in relationship to your business. While some of you know that I don’t always follow this wisdom, usually I’m still reluctant to go as far as to protest on my company website and with my company newsletter. However, in a way, I am my company and I started my company so I could be myself.
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as H.R. 3261, is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011, by House Judiciary Committee Chair Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX). The bill expands the ability of U.S. law enforcement to stop online trafficking of copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. The House Judiciary Committee held hearings on November 16 and December 15, 2011. The Committee will continue debate on January 24, 2012.
If passed, the bill will allow the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. Depending on who makes the request, the court order could include barring online advertising networks and payment facilitators such as PayPal from doing business with the allegedly infringing website, barring search engines from linking to such sites, and requiring Internet service providers to block access to such sites. The bill would make unauthorized streaming of copyrighted content a crime, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
Lobbyists say that the bill protects the intellectual property market and corresponding industry, jobs and revenue, and is necessary to bolster enforcement of copyright laws especially against foreign websites.
The truth, however, is that this bill violates the First Amendment and will cripple the Internet. It will threaten whistle-blowing and other free speech. It may also increase the cost of owning and operating a website due to lawsuits and penalties brought upon internet related services.
To oppose this bill many people have initiated a number of protest actions, including petition drives, boycotts of companies that support the legislation, and even proposed service blackouts by major Internet companies scheduled to coincide with the next Congressional hearing on the matter.
In protest, on Wednesday January 18, 2012 I’m taking my company website, http://MyModernWeb.com, down. However, as usually, we will be providing service via phone, email and online chat.
Our clients and affiliates, this means you, will NOT be affected. Your website will continue to function as usual. That is unless you decided to join us.
Some useful resources for you to consider: