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Tomorrow a lot of the internet will disappear. Dozens of major websites across the internet are shutting down for 24 hours as a way of protesting pending legislation in Congress which most experts believe will if enacted, in a very real sense, destroy the internet. Google will be posting a message on all its pages. Other sites like Wikipedia, Craigslist and Reddit will go completely dark.
The two bills in question are called the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). If passed (and there’s a pretty good chance they still might) they’d give the government broad powers to shut down any website without due process. They’d make it impossible for a lot of big social networking sites like Facebook, and smaller web publishers like Cinema Blend, to continue to do business. So of course it’s being backed by the MPAA, the Motion Picture Association of America.
The MPAA lashed out against protestors today in a letter published on Tech Crunch. In it they call the looming blackout a “prank” and accuse anyone who disagrees with this dangerous legislation of being a “corporate pawn”. Ironic when you consider that the entire purpose of the bill is to protect corporate interests… at the expense of free speech.
Here are a few excerpts from their rant which, ironically, if we were to publish after the passage of SOPA could cause our website to be erased from the internet. Enjoy this freedom while you can…
…some technology business interests are resorting to stunts that punish their users or turn them into corporate pawns, rather than coming to the table to find solutions to a problem that all now seem to agree is very real and damaging.
Sorry I just have to break in here. First off, blackout day was started as part of a grass roots effort among the users of Reddit. Second, not everyone agrees that the “problem” they’re addressing, that being piracy, is actually all that real and damaging. In fact there have been numerous studies (some even from the music industry itself) which suggest that the whole thing is kind of a red herring. Back to the MPPA…
It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and use of their services.
You know what would really be a disservice to them? When the government gives the MPAA the power it wants to shut these websites down… not for 24 hours, but forever.
It is also an abuse of power given the freedom these companies enjoy in the marketplace. It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as a gateway to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.
Speaking of skewing facts, everything in there is a pretty good example of that. Actually the problem with SOPA is trying to raise awareness. No one knows in the mainstream really knows it exists, which is how Congress is getting away with passing a censorship bill like this. The idea here is to let people who don’t already know, figure out what’s happening.
A so-called “blackout” is yet another gimmick, albeit a dangerous one, designed to punish elected and administrative officials who are working to protect American jobs from foreign criminals. It is our hope that the White House and the Congress will call on those who intend to stage this “blackout” to stop the hyperbole and PR stunts and engage in meaningful efforts to combat piracy.”
To find out more about why everything the MPAA just said is completely incorrect, visit AmericanCensorship.org.
Obviously this is an issue we think is pretty important here on Cinema Blend. Not just to our survival, but to the internet as a whole. We’re an entertainment site though and we know you don’t come here for politics. So while we won’t be blacking out the site tomorrow, expect to see us joining the protest with a blackout notification at the top of our page encouraging people to learn more about the consequences of bills like SOPA and PIPA, along with how you can do something to protect the internet from censorship corporations like the MPAA.
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