Today many websites are joining in protest of the US Governments SOPA/PIPA bill by blacking out their content and providing links to information about the proposed bills. Among the protestors is Wikipedia which has blacked out its English language pages for the first time ever. Flickr has also given its members a chance to join in the protest by blacking out their photos for 24hrs as you can see above.
It’s hard for me as a photographer, on one hand I’m in favour of better protection for my own IP, but the heavy handed methods and sneaky introduction of this bill worries me. For now the bill would only affect users in the US directly, but by censoring and limiting every internet contributor in the US, we’ll all be affected. It’s also not unforeseeable that, if passed, the US could pressure the Canadian, and in fact any other government to also enact similar laws.
I believe there should be better protection of IP on the internet, especially protection available to those who don’t have the money to bring legal action on their own, but not at the expense of unilateral government controlled censorship. There’s plenty of ways to bring IP to the internet while minimizing your risk of piracy, Apple has proved it’s possible with iTunes. Why should I go to the trouble of pirating music when it’s available to me at a click of a button, for a buck a track, anywhere there’s internet. Companies like Apple and Netflicks have proven that, when offered a product at a reasonable price, people will pay rather than pirate. The companies lobbying for this bill need to start working with the internet instead of trying to legislate it away. Please take a second and read the Wiki article on how SOPA/PIPA will affect you, and join the protest in any way you can.