Wednesday, January 18, 2012

You Might Be Wondering Why...

...that big black box is sitting at the top of the site right now. Here's why: Two bills before Congress, known as the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House of Representatives, would censor the Web and impose harmful regulations on American business.

The Senate begins their voting process on Tuesday, January 24th.

Here's what YOU can do: Sign this petition which urges Congress to vote NO on PIPA and SOPA before we all wake up to the government knowing your whereabouts...I mean, it's not as if they don't already know your whereabouts, but let's at least make them keep that a #fakesecret.

For clarification though, Team thoroughly believes that the members of Congress are attempting to "do the right thing" by actively going after pirates and counterfeiters on the web. However we're just not convinced SOPA and PIPA are the best way to do that.

More details...

1. SOPA and PIPA would censor the Web

The U.S. government could order the blocking of sites using methods similar to those employed by China. Among other things, search engines could be forced to delete entire websites from their search results. That’s why 41 human rights organizations and 110 prominent law professors have expressed grave concerns about the bills.

2. SOPA and PIPA would be job-killers because they would create a new era of uncertainty for American business

Law-abiding U.S. internet companies would have to monitor everything users link to or upload or face the risk of time-consuming litigation. That’s why AOL, EBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Twitter, Yahoo and Zynga wrote a letter to Congress saying these bills “pose a serious risk to our industry’s continued track record of innovation and job-creation.” It’s also why 55 of America’s most successful venture capitalists expressed concern that PIPA “would stifle investment in Internet services, throttle innovation, and hurt American competitiveness”. More than 204 entrepreneurs told Congress that PIPA and SOPA would “hurt economic growth and chill innovation”.

3. SOPA and PIPA wouldn’t stop piracy

To make matters worse, SOPA and PIPA won’t even work. The censorship regulations written into these bills won’t shut down pirate sites. These sites will just change their addresses and continue their criminal activities, while law-abiding companies will suffer high penalties for breaches they can’t possibly control.

There are effective ways to combat foreign “rogue” websites dedicated to copyright infringement and trademark counterfeiting, while preserving the innovation and dynamism that have made the Internet such an important driver of American economic growth and job creation. Congress should consider alternatives like the OPEN Act, which takes targeted and focused steps to cut off the money supply from foreign pirate sites without making US companies censor the Web.

Source: Google.