There’s a lot of whinging, whining, ranting, and raving over SOPA and PIPA. My guess is that very, very few – perhaps as low as 1% – of the people engaging in these histrionics have bothered to read either bill.
That fundamental, self-imposed ignorance, of course, never seems to stop these cretins from yammering about things about which they know nothing or next to nothing.
Most hilarious reaction is the SOPA Strike or Blackout protest going on today (January 18, 2012). Well over 99% of the sites choosing to “go dark” are so inconsequential that their permanent loss would go utterly unnoticed by the internet public at large.
NOTE: This blog would also most definitely fall into that 99%, as would virtually all personal websites. I have some comforting illusions but this blog’s importance isn’t one of them.
On the slim chance that you, my dear reader, wish to be one of the 1% who isn’t bleating in ignorance born rage, links to the full text of both SOPA and PIPA can be found below:
Texts of SOPA & PIPA
At least after reading the bills in question one can, if one still has an issue with one or both of them, have complaints and arguments based upon actual verifiable facts as opposed to the drivel certain agendists spoon feed their drones. And it’s not inconceivable that you would still take issue with SOPA and PIPA; like all laws, there’s room for argument over the details – especially over the various amendments and riders that are always added to bills in Congress.
The most strident of the complaints from the willfully ignorant masses, however, seem to fall into three categories: theft of intellectual property is OK; SOPA & PIPA will lead to censorship; and applying nations’ laws to cyberspace is wrong.
Theft of Intellectual Property is OK
Many who hate SOPA and PIPA just hate copyright law the in first place. These are the same sorts of vermin who make up the backbone of the OWS rabble. They support theft from “rich” content produces and want their entertainment or software for free or nearly so. For them piracy is a form a wealth redistribution that largely bypasses the monetary system.
For them, I believe from what I’ve heard and read, it’s those parts of the bills that allow for the content creators to expand the “take down order” process to an offender’s advertisers and payment processors that bother them the most.
While not a defense for these beliefs, the ongoing punitive foolishness of the MPAA and RIAA regarding copyright infringement does make them unsympathetic and easy targets for spite.
SOPA & PIPA Will Lead to Censorship
Many who hate SOPA and PIPA don’t hate them because of what’s in the bills themselves. They just believe that it will lead to censorship in the future and, hence, have to be killed now.
I’m always leery of slippery slope arguments. As a nation we’ve heard the slippery slope used to justify the Jim Crow laws and our involvement in Vietnam, to name just two historic examples. We’re also currently hearing it in the war over gay marriage, which opponents say will lead to legalizing polygamy and pedophilia.
Objectively this could happen. SOPA and PIPA could be the foundation for later laws that enact internet censorship in America. Any restriction, however, could lead to greater and more onerous later restrictions just as any law intrinsically carries the possibility that it will be abused by those who enforce it.
Applying Nations’ Laws to Cyberspace is Wrong
Many who hate SOPA and PIPA hate the idea of applying a nation’s laws – or any law at all – to the internet. To these sorts the interaction of cyberspace and nation space must always be a one way street, with the internet being what affects or restricts nations and never nations affecting or restricting their populations’ access to- and use of the internet. These are the same sort of idiots that think the internet is Human right and, like all such cult-minded individuals, they can’t be argued with and should be largely ignored.
A subset of these people have a similar but more rational complaint. They fear that America enacting laws such as SOPA and PIPA would likely result in other nations governments to do similarly, in service to whatever political or social policies they value – whether those are restricting: pornography, hate speech, blasphemy, insults to public officials, or political dissent – thus potentially restricting access to foreign – possibly American – content for reasons that Americans find abhorrent.
There’s a wee bit of the slippery slope argument in this fear but it seems reasonable to think that other nations might follow the perceived spirit of America’s lead in this issue but apply their own sensibilities to it, which might be at odds with our own. I just don’t see where this is a problem.
The internet isn’t wholly separate from the world and individual nations have the right to place restrictions on what foreign content is available to their populations, just as any border carries some level of security. If Americans don’t agree with another nation’s restrictions it not the restrictions we really disagree; it’s the underlying sociopolitical structure of the nation in question.
The truly sad yet ironic thing is that if people weren’t so willfully ignorant and actually read these bills instead of trusting the jabbering of agendists, partisan pundits, and demagogues soon far fewer bills that people disliked would even get to committee.
Then again, expecting more of people than of the politicians they elect – who can’t or won’t read the bills they’re voting upon – is probably both stupid and borderline insane. ๐
Tags: America | Congress | Copyright | Copyright Infringement | Crime | H. R. 3261 | Intellectual Property | Internet | IP | Law | PIPA | Piracy | S. 968 | SOPA | Technology | Theft | US House of Representives | US Senate