I’m sure that some of you guys have heard of this bill called SOPA and PIPA and how it’s going to censor the internet. That by itself should perk some ears but let me go a little deeper.

Y’see, SOPA stands for: Stop Online Piracy Act, a bill (H.R. 3261) that was introduced by Congressman Lamar S. Smith (R-TX) back in October. The bill, at face value, is supposed to prevent piracy and theft via blacklisting. Now, fighting knock-offs and pirates sound really good right? I mean, no more downloading movies and music. Recording lab- I mean artists can be sure to make every proper dime on their music. Hollywood is safe from people ripping them off and everyone gets a free halo in the mail. Otherwise, prepare to get slammed. Anyone who pirates or participates in any other form of copyright infringement could have the whole site shut down. Yep. A court order could be made to make sure online advertising people don’t do business with the infringing website, search engines such as Google to pretend the site never existed and barring it from showing up in search returns ever, even have internet service providers to block access to such sites. Now if you, dear reader, get caught, you could get hit with up to five years in prison for ten infringements (Ten songs, ten movies, etc.) within six months. The only sites that are immune are those who voluntarily scope through their site and alienate any links, poster or comments on there. If you want to know how such internet censorship works out, ask China.

Then you have PIPA (S. 968), which stands for: PROTECT IP Act, which stands for: Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011, which stands for “someone is trying to break the internets through teh butthurts with sheer wtf and lack of lolz.” In seriousness, it is a bill that is kind of the sister of SOPA and a reincarnation of another bill smacked down in congress back in 2010 called COICA (Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act). This bill was introduced by Patrick Leahy (D-VT) back in May and it is supposed to fight distribution of illegal (read: bootleg or downloaded) copies, counterfeit goods and anti-digital rights management. This bill is supposed to “enhance enforcement against rogue websites operated and registered overseas” and gives servers right to block it. The site could still be reached by its IP address (think of it like a social security card for websites and computers) but not its domain name. Search engines would have to disable access or remove it altogether to the site associated with the domain name in the court order. Or just no hypertext link to the site. Poof, it’s gone.

This vid raises great points on PIPA

To further illustrate:

Black Witch is a site that I made to make sure that Black Pagans would get awesome content to read, listen to and enjoy. Why The Arts! alone would get this site shut down because oh noes! I can’t always get direct blessings from the artists I feature (this is legal under the copyright act of fair use – or should be but SOPA and PIPA don’t feel the same way I do) but even the fact that I do credit – the feature is about them – would make SOPA and PIPA tell WordPress to tell me, “Hey, Black Witch. Cut that out!” or face penalties, even taken off the net. Now this is me but what about my readers? What if one of you guys caught me on a mistake and linked me to a correcting piece, which happened to be copyrighted? Dude, then I’m responsible for you because WordPress is responsible for me and no one wants to be erased from the internets. Then again, WordPress could become hyper vigilant and just take my blog down should they see me post a music video from youtube or feel a twinge of anxiety from the fact I said that Playing Card Divination for Beginners is gouging the price for a book that was originally $10 so, regardless of whether or not I have the okays from the publisher or author, I may digitize it for my readers to use. (That’s piracy, folks). With these laws, you know that instead of fixing the problem with fine-tuned precision, it’s going to be the story of Henny Penny magnified. Even if I play by the rules, not every blogger will and still WordPress could be taken off the internet as if it never existed, taking my site (and Mike Shinoda’s site and Nastassia Davis’ site and the Wondaland wordpress site and countless other sites) with it. Ouch. And this also goes for your email because now that I, Mike Shinoda, Wondaland and others are all apparently digital evil doers out to harm through copyright violations some other guy did – judged by the company you keep, folks – if you so much as link to our content, your provider has to fish it out and rip it out or suffer the same fate as WordPress did.

If it seems a lil’ pointless to the average person still, here’s a really good demonstration using our favorite android, Janelle Monae.

Alrightie, if my twitter and my site and search terms to my site are any indication, I got a lot of fandroids for readers. I even featured one, AngelBopByeYa, since I thought her tumblr was spiffy – but wait! Did AngelBopByeYa ask Janelle Monae if she could have all those JM pictures decorated on her Tumblr? And what about The Audition, Janelle Monae’s EP from waaaaaay back in the early 2000’s? Y’know, the one that can’t be found in stores so either you download (and become a pirate, matey) or just happily go without or wait to spring on Janelle Monae herself and ask for her blessing to have her music in your Mp3 player. And what about those pictures from the last three (four?) times she posed in Vogue? Aw, man, I’m sure no fandroid was asking Vogue to use copies. If AngelBopByeYa so much as even performs “BopByeYa” through singing it or playing it and posting it to youtube, she could get hit with up to five years in non-Cybertronic Purgatory if anyone from Janelle Monae’s crew think that’s not cool and AngelBopByeYa is stealing content. Now, we’re sure Janelle Monae would find this lovely, she loves when her fandroids are doing their thing – Atlantic Records, however, feels otherwise and as her distributor, would be ultra pissed at AngelBopByeYa. Either she better stop posting that Janelle Monae content now (and lose Monae potential new fans and supporters who haven’t heard her music while at the same time locking out fans who may not always have the money to support) or get that tumblr – or Tumblr itself – taken off the air. Now, technically all this would be considered okay under the Fair Use act given that AngelBopByeYa is commenting, criticizing, and reviewing on her tumblr and giving credit. But, SOPA and PIPA is written so loosely that you might as well chuck that out of the window because if Atlantic Records think she’s stealing nonetheless, it’s gone.

Oh, geez. This sucks rocks. It would be totally crappy if a site like FYeahJanelleMonae would get linked here or if I post, like, a picture of Janelle Monae being awesome…like this pic right here where she’s running from a sixteenth note:


Or show a youtube with her song in it, like Salvador Dali’s Disney short film Destino.

Because according to SOPA and PIPA, I just committed a crime on several counts. Sorry, WordPress. My bad it wasn’t a more looked-over crime such as what student loan lenders are doing, and what former president Bush did to Iraq. I guess that’s the pirate’s life for me.

And to make people feel better, here’s a funky PSA on net neutrality: The Internet You Need

Now go out there and tell your Congressman about the internet you need.