Today, many sites on the internet are going offline to protest two bills currently trying to worm their way through Congress: SOPA in the House, and Protect IP in the Senate.
These bills are backed by Hollywood, the music industry and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They would give the government the right to shut down websites, block sites DNS entries, and otherwise restrict what content is and isn't allowed to be on the web, and what content citizens are allowed to access.
No, this isn't happening in China, these bills are currently working their way through the United States of America congress.
Although I am a copyright holder myself, and agree with the idea of stopping people from stealing other people's works and not compensating them for it, the fight against piracy CANNOT compromise the freedoms that the United States was founded on.
From the 1st amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." (emphasis added)
"Well," you might say, "The government should certainly have the right to take anything that's been stolen!"
How about the 4th Amendment?:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
I certainly agree with prosecuting people who have stolen things, but shutting down sections of the internet or blocking peoples access to it just in case they might steal something is just plain wrong.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin
More information on the bills here:
To contact your elected officials, go here: