Friends and followers,
I, normally, deliberately exclude political commentary and opinions here, as I feel that the usual crop of political Horse Hooey isn't relevant to the nature or mission of this blog.
Today, I feel compelled to make an exception to that rule.
The reason for this exception is the SOPA and PIPA acts presently making their way through Congress, as I feel that these bills represent an absolutely intolerable infringement on the very few personal liberties we still enjoy as Americans.
Both, or either one, of these bills would allow government and business leaders to arbitrarily block or limit access to a web site or domain if they claim, rightly or wrongly, that it, (allegedly), "hosts copyrighted content".
Though I also oppose on-line piracy and wanton copyright violation - the broad nature of these bills would allow various entities, (like the infamous RIAA), to shut down web sites for even the fair use of copyrighted works.
Wikipedia periodically includes copyrighted images or materials - in a much lower resolution - when used to illustrate or expand on a legitimate article. A good example of this is the article entitled "Someday At Christmas" where a low resolution image of the album cover is used to expand upon and illustrate the article in question. Though clearly a "fair use" under current copyright law, the RIAA and BMI could easily use that, under the provisions of the SOPA and PIP bills, to blank out all of Wikipedia. Or close down their funding sources, which amounts to the same thing.
One of my own blog articles uses the cover of the August 30th, 2010 issue of Time Magazine in the exact same way, and for exactly the same fair-use purpose. And my entire blog - if not all of Blogger.com - could be shut down for exactly the same reasons.
Before anyone cries "FOUL!", claiming that my fears are exaggerated and blown totally out of proportion, let me say that my opinion is not based on the rants-and-raves of those web-pundits, those bottom-feeders, who thrive and grow on muckrake journalism.
Instead, I have carefully researched both of these bills, read them in their entirety - cover to cover - thought both long and carefully about what they say, and how what they say can be used, and I have to admit being left with a chill running up and down my spine.
A chill that was only equaled by the first film of the legendary Why We Fight series of films published during WWII. In it, the Fascist nature and policies of the German and Italian governments is laid bare for all to see. This chill was caused by the uncanny resemblance of these two Fascist governments to the United States Government of today. Please follow that link to a YouTube posting of that entire first film. Watch it well, and fear.
In my own humble opinion, these bills represent Fascist Governance at it's absolute worst, and it would irretrievably damage the free flow of ideas and information that both the Internet, and this fine country of ours, is built upon. The only thing missing, in my opinion, is a leader with a small mustache, screaming "Sieg Heil!"
This article is, very likely, the all-time record holder for the number of hyperlinks in a single article on my blog. This is deliberate. I want to illustrate, in a way that is easily readable and understandable, the reasons for my opposition to these bills.
I encourage you to follow each of the hyperlinks, view the content, and decide for yourself.
Hopefully, you will join me in opposition to these bills by using this Wikipedia link to contact your Congressmen and Senators.
Please? The future of the Internet, and possibly even our entire country, may well depend on this.
What say ye?