Save the Internet

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/31100268]

I was talking with one of the kids at work the other day about why voting is important. I told him that if he didn’t vote, when he’s old enough, then he was giving up his voice. And when things started happening that he didn’t agree with, he would have no place to complain to or from.

Well, I vote, even though my Congressional Representative does not represent my ideas, but that’s another issue entirely, so now that both the House and the Senate are looking at bills that will lessen the freedoms I currently enjoy and absolutely adore when using the internet, I’m voicing my concerns.

I’ve already used a form to contact both. And now I’m writing to say that trying to protect intellectual property (IP)by punishing everyone who uses the internet is an overreaction.

I know overreacting is what we do now in the U.S. (Hello TSA!), but I’ve said all along that it’s not the best option. It leads to very silly, and often stupid, situations, like adults checking small children for explosives and humiliating people with medical concerns. But the bills before Congress now could lead to reduced freedoms, not only here, but around the world.

We host quite a lot of the websites that people use to coordinate uprisings, like those in Tunisia and Egypt and Libya, so if we try to protect the interests of the entertainment industry, we are less likely to protect the interests of greater society. The video is states accurately that on the sites we use to share ideas, some of us also use to share content that is the IP of someone else. But we also use it to share our art, which does what art has always done by building on the art and culture that has come before. And to limit our freedom of speech because some of us don’t pay the creators throws the baby out with the bathwater. Yes creators should get money for their work. I like being paid for the work I create. But my concerns for payment do not trump the rights of society to free exchange ideas. To assert otherwise rejects the rules we have always played by in the U.S.

If the Congress wants to pass a law under the pretense of attempting to stop online piracy, then they should draft a law that is smart and doesn’t disregard the creation of culture for as long as we’ve created culture and doesn’t set up what could be the U.S. version of the Great Firewall. The law right now look like they will end in tears for the world.

No good comes of restricting the free exchange of ideas.

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