For the past five years, DivineCaroline has enjoyed the freedom to allow our readers and writers a place to share stories, advice, and insights with each other. If the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) becomes law, this freedom could be in jeopardy.
You may have heard a bit about SOPA, or its companion proposal, the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). These proposed laws aim to help curb the pirating of movies and music online and protect content creators against intellectual property theft.
But the way they work is deeply troubling to those of us who work on the Internet—and should be troubling to anyone who uses the Internet or believes in free communication of ideas. SOPA would enable Internet service providers (like Time Warner, Comcast, Cox, or AT&T) to block and prevent you from accessing any website that shows unauthorized copyrighted content. An ISP could prevent you from looking at a website that even links to copyrighted content.
You may think, “I don’t illegally download movies or visit sites that display pirated content, so these laws won’t affect me,” but the reality is that these bills could allow almost any website to be forced off the Internet, especially sites that rely on user submissions. Even DivineCaroline is at risk—if a user uploads or links to a photograph, video, or any other content to which they do not explicitly own the rights, our entire site could be held liable.
Protecting intellectual property and stopping piracy are admirable goals, but we cannot support any legislation that tries to accomplish this via censorship of the Internet. Here are a few links to sites where you can read more in-depth analyses of why these bills are dangerous. We encourage our readers and writers to take a moment and learn more. If you’d like to make a difference, sign the petition below or contact your representative.
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