AI: Pirates Protest PIPA

Tomorrow the internet is protesting PIPA, the Protect the Internet from Real Pirates and Investment Portfolios Act, a bill intended to protect the internet from piracy by making sure everyone who knows someone who might have inadvertently (or advertently) posted content that might be interpreted as maybe being someone else’s is forced to walk the plank. (I think I have that right?) The effects of the US bill will be global and perhaps even confirm the Mayan 2012  revelation. Because we’re all pirates and when we’re angry we scorch the earth. (I think that’s also right.)

Wikipedia, Reddit, the Cheezeburger network, Mozilla, WordPress, TwitPic and Boing Boing among others will be going dark in protest (despite rumors Twitter will be business as usual tomorrow). Don’t expect to find much of anything here at Skepchick.

If you’re unsure about what SOPA/PIPA and the protests are all about, Know Your Meme has an easy, quick and dirty infographic.

What are your thoughts on SOPA/PIPA? How do you feel about the blackout? Are you participating? Is anyone actually in favor of this act?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 3pm ET.

Soup pirate featured image courtesy


Elyse MoFo Anders is the bad ass behind forming the Women Thinking, inc and the superhero who launched the Hug Me! I'm Vaccinated campaign as well as podcaster emeritus, writer, slacktivist extraordinaire, cancer survivor and sometimes runs marathons for charity. You probably think she's awesome so you follow her on twitter.

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  1. I think this kicks ass. It is a travesty that lawmakers with no understanding of the issues and no effort to understand the issues pass a law that will harm pretty much everyone. This is reminiscent of people voting on whether evolution is accurate with no effort made to understand it. The good news is that even the publicity of the blackout (and quite a few more subtle protests before this) have succeeded in getting the knuckleheads in congress to see the light. SOPA is in in a coma, and PIPA is loosing support fast. Yay internet!

  2. I think it’s great that a lot of the names, big and small, on the web are digitally linking arms and going down tomorrow. SOPA/PIPA is an example not onrly of overreaching laws written by the very parties that would benefit most from them, but is also an example of how poorly congress understand economics.

    Data-wise it’s pretty clear that ‘rampant online piracy’ tends to increase art revenue. Not decrease it. Fans are more passionate now and have more of an interest in supporting the artists they love. If anything we should be studying this new culture and figuring out how it works, not smashing it back into the business models that are failing.

    1. PIPA and SOPA and RWA are not about protecting the artists, writers, they are about protecting and increasing corporate profits.

      This shows just how selfish and greedy those corporate interests are. There were willing to break the internet, just to enrich themselves.

      The Arab Spring has shown just how valuable a non-broken internet is. We have to make sure the internet is never broken in the service of a political or economic agenda.

  3. I think the blackouts are a bit of a stupid idea. It not going to raise awareness because everyone on the internet has been nagged to death for months about SOPA and PIPA. And I know the people behind the blackouts are too smart to actually believe it will make a difference to the governments decision, so, yeah I’m struggling to find the point. Just as long as it’s the last I ever have to hear about a bill in a country I don’t live in possibly but probably not passing.

    Ahh, I appear to have given over to cynicism on this front.

    1. I have had several people today alone that had no idea what SOPA or PIPA was. Just because you’re in the know doesn’t mean everyone is.

    2. “Just as long as it’s the last I ever have to hear about a bill in a country I don’t live in possibly but probably not passing.”

      And, oh boy, the classic, “I don’t live there so I don’t care, just shut up!” Well, newsflash: It could very much affect other countries. But something tells me you’ve done very little research on the matter, and are instead focussing on being annoyed because people dare speak out against these awful bills.

      1. No, I’m against the bills and for people being against them…if that makes sense. It’s the method I have issue with.

        But you’re right, I just do not care anymore. The amount I could have cared has long since dried up because of the apparent tactic of anti-SOPA people to irritate the pants off of everyone to achieve their aims.

        1. You do realize that if people aren’t *AWARE* of the bill, they can’t speak out against it, and they will pass, right? You’re agreeing that the bills are awful, but that means people need to be aware … but also shut up about it. It makes no sense.

          I actually work for a pretty high-tech company, and there are some people here who have no idea what SOPA is. Not everyone keeps up to date on these things, especially if they don’t browse the internet that often.

          And if you’re annoyed, well, the it’s working, because more and more people are becoming aware, and are becoming angry. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing. You need to have a different perspective.

  4. The infographic was perfect. I am incredibly frustrated that my Union (the Editors Guild) are behind SOPA. They keep sending out ridiculous emails that make my head want to explode to save itself. I just sent the link to a Union rep. Hopefully, it will be simple enough for them to understand.

  5. How *does* one participate? I mean, I could skip my daily post tomorrow. Rather than a science story, my seven readers could just see a notice that I’m protesting SOPA/PIPA. But my blog would still be there with all my previous posts unless Blogger went dark, which probably isn’t going to happen.

  6. There’s a TED video about this where Clay Shirky (who is evidently way smarter than his dumbo-the-baby-elephant-like head makes him look) – explains in great detail the reasons for SOPA and PIPA and whatever similar crap is in the pipeline for when these (hopefully) fail. It’s a pretty clear expose of why the media moguls want to pretend that it ok to reverse the “innocent until proven guilty” legal precept. It is only about 12 minutes long but pretty much covers the implications, origins and future trajectory of this issue.

    It seems to me that even if this is implemented, it will fail, but it might just make the internet a bit more challenging to navigate. If “official” DNS services can be bullied into dropping sites “suspected” of harboring illegal copying, unofficial DNS services will take over and the internet will slow down a bit. The US will also cement its growing reputation as a reactionary backwater run by clue-free boneheads who can’t be bothered to learn how the post steam engine world works. Does anyone really think that there are that many savvy Chinese people who haven’t figured out how to get around the great firewall of China? Does anyone who actually uses a computer (instead of having someone read and write with one for them as most legislators probably do) think that this will have any effect on the distribution of intellectual property? Me neither.

  7. I have been trying to work out a “real world” equivalent of these laws, given that some of the clowns that supported them wanted to, “level the playing field, so the online law reflected the regular world”, or some nonsense. Closest I could come up with is, you convention center, to a Sci-Fi convention. One booth in the entire convention is selling T-Shirts with someone else’s content on them, illegally. So, instead of shutting down the booth, you close every road to the center, don’t allow anyway that isn’t already there to approach the property, until the court case against the owners is over, then make the convention center’s owners themselves go to court, over who knows how many months/years to prove that **they** didn’t intentionally host an illegal T-Shirt booth at the convention, instead of no one, other than the booty running knowing it wasn’t legal, until someone pointed it out.

    I mean, how the hell is this, “making online laws match the ones in the real world”? Just flat out WTF?

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