I typically try to stay pretty far from the political arena here on Surviving The Stores.
Every so often I’ll post something to Facebook that I think is relevant to a frugal lifestyle and it will touch on a current political issue a *tad*.
But never have I written an article specifically on something political. Until now.
Because this not only could majorly affect Surviving The Stores, but all of YOU.
I’m sure most of you have seen some kind of story on the news, read an article online, or seen someone post an article to Facebook by now about the SOPA and PIPA bills that are up to be passed in Congress.
And it seems there is a lot of confusion out there about them.
Many people think that these bills are about just about copyright infringement.
But they are so, SO much more.
You see, companies can already go after people who infringe on their copyright. And they do. But apparently they don’t think that’s enough.
Here’s a little more info from Wikipedia:
The originally proposed bill would allow the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement.
They want to be able to take down the sites that just allow people to upload things that could be copyrighted. Your nephew Johnny who uploaded a video of himself singing his favorite Justin Timberlake song to YouTube? Yep, YOUTUBE could be taken down for that.
And here’s the kicker. Youtube (Google) could be taken down WITHOUT due process according to the bill. Yep, just accused of doing it, a notice sent to their server, and their site is gone.
Not only that, but anyone who has, either knowingly or unknowingly, uploaded something that infringes on copyright can be prosecuted as a federal criminal.
Consider this from online social-media authority Mashable:
This means, for example, if you upload a video to YouTube of you singing a popular song, and that song might sell for $1, and your video gets 2,500 views, you are guilty of felony copyright infringement. Furthermore, you can tack on “willful infringement for commercial gain or valued at more than $1,000.”
This would make you a felon, and if a copyright holder were to bring a suit against you, would give you a criminal record that would make it virtually impossible to gain future employment, and may subject you to up to three years in prison for singing a song. You don’t have to receive any money. You don’t have to gain anything from your video. Simply receiving 2,500 views on a song you sung, which happens to have copyright held by someone else, makes you a felon.
It’s a VERY slippery slope, and even if the government and the entertainment industry don’t use this power to prosecute you or someone you know, or take down sites like Google, Youtube, Wikipedia, and yes, even FACEBOOK, the fact that they would now have the power to do so WITHOUT DUE PROCESS is very very scary.
And while an aide to one of the authors of the bill has said, “This bill does not make it a felony for a person to post a video on YouTube of their children singing to a copyrighted song. The bill specifically targets websites dedicated to illegal or infringing activity. Sites that host user content—like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter—have nothing to be concerned about under this legislation” the opportunity for this bill to do just that is still there.
So what can we do to stop this?
Here are some steps:
1. Watch the video below to understand more about how these bills would work.
2. Sign the STOP SOPA/PIPA petition that Google put out. It only takes a few seconds to sign.
3. Write, call, and/or email your congressmen and women, as well as your state senators, and urge them to vote NO on SOPA and PIPA or anything that looks like those bills in the future.
4. Read the EXCELLENT article on SOPA and PIPA over at Mashable that I referenced earlier, which breaks down the bill and how exactly it will affect all of us.