Friday, January 20, 2012

Senators, say NO to SOPA! (by anon)

This is a letter [anon] recently sent to Wisconsin senators Herb Kohl and Ron Johnson.

Senator Kohl, I urge you to vote against PIPA and SOPA. The intent of these bills is to protect copyrights owned by the entertainment industry and stop piracy, yes?

Please see entertainment as consumers, not its makers, view it. Music, films, television programs, and other forms of media expression are now so prevalent that they become entwined in the very fabric of our culture. To most citizens, pop songs and movie quotes are not just entertainment, they can become ideals that remain applicable well outside of the context of entertainment. With the passing of Protect-IP, whole sites could be taken down for just one infringing link. This becomes increasingly problematic for social networking and self-expression websites (such as Facebook or Youtube). Media surrounds us in such a dense way, that it becomes unnecessarily difficult to avoid referencing any copyrighted material in social interactions over cyberspace. If I'm going to make a video of myself, am I expected to take down any posters or paraphernalia of copyrighted material I possess? What about audio? Am I expected to not include meaningful quotes from my favorite film? As for music, people can live their lives singing tunes to themselves or having a song stuck in their head as a daily occurrence; PIPA and SOPA support the notion that this natural tendency must be censored when dealing with matters of the internet.

Stopping piracy is a noble cause, I agree, but PIPA and SOPA are not a proper means to that end. The--call them--side effects of the bills far outweigh the benefits.

To conclude, I will use a case example of Star Wars. Have you heard of the recent documentary film, The People vs. George Lucas? In this film, the question is raised, "when a work of media becomes so accepted by a culture, does anyone really own it anymore?" This is the nature of media in our current culture. Not a day--in your real world, daily life--can go by when you do not interact with some form of copyrighted media; this holds true for the internet as well.

1 comment:

  1. There are plenty of congressmen out there who are very ignorant as to the effects SOPA/PIPA would have on freedom of communication, and they're ready and willing to vote in support of them when the time comes. With more letters like this, we might just be able to enlighten them towards the detrimental effects of this awful bill. It's great to see people fighting so vigorously against it.