Google and Wikipedia have begun their protests of the proposed SOPA and PIPA legislation before Congress.
[vimeo width="640" height="480"]http://vimeo.com/31100268[/vimeo]
Wikipedia has taken their own site down and offered a landing page that enables users to lookup contact information for their elected officials.
Google also decided to make a statement. Google did not choose to take down its service like Wikipedia, but instead made their opinions very clear with a stark Google Doodle and link for more information.
Tell congress to not censor the web and to not cripple our innovation economy. - Google Take Action PDF
Believe me when I tell you that if this legislation passes, it will fundamentally change the way each and every person in the world experiences today's open Internet. SOPA / PIPA will release a mob of uncontrolled censor police across the web, fueled by major corporate greed.
I like Google's SOPA information page headline: Stop Piracy, Not Liberty.
In this legislation, entire websites can be instantly removed from the Internet-based on simple claims of copyright violation or piracy by a content owner. The bill also requires pages/sites in violation to be removed from search engines and other aggregators. The simple possession of a cached page in violation, like a search engine would have for Indexing purposes, would cause that search engine to become a target.
Therefore, search engines will be forced to quickly comply with the demand to remove pages and sites from their SERPS as a matter of self preservation.
The bill also addresses the income of websites. Sites with content said to be in violation can have their advertisers prohibited from transacting with the violating site. The legislation goes so far as to force PayPal to suspend payments.
Top top it off, the bills would also force ISP's (such as Verizon, Comcast, Cablevision, etc) to block users from going to offending sites all together.
Government censorship? You've got to be kidding.
The power of the bill rests in the courts deciding the merits of an infringement case. A SOPA / PIPA case would essentially allow the United States Government to decide what is a true piracy claim, and how to properly handle the remedy.
Essentially, government sponsored censorship.
The very fabric of the open and free Internet will crumble once it is left up to the government to validate the web's content. Can we afford to put this kind of power in the hands of the government?
The desire to kill Internet piracy is a nobel goal. However, it cannot come at a higher price [liberty] than the corporate interests [money] it aims to protect.