Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Stop SOPA, SAVE The Internet

Today is American Censorship Day and although I am not an American Citizen I feel very strongly against this poorly drafted bill which has the potential to do more harm than good.

Here in the UK we've already failed at preventing bad internet legislation from being passed in the form of the anti-democratic whitewash that saw the introduction of the Digital Economy Act (DEA). This law sought to create a situation where ISPs were responsible for actioning take down requests and for providing copyright owners with infringing customers account details without a judges court order or legal test to determine whether the content in question actually infringed anything.

Truth be told the mechanics of the enforcement of this bill are in such a state of dissarray that no-one knows how to implement this new law. This has recently led to the issuing of legal demands by copyright owners to ISPs to block traffic to certain domains. The impact of course is that every domain everywhere is subject to the same potential action. If you give government the tools in law, sooner or later they'll use them. The SOPA is similarly well intentioned but poorly drafted and dangerous legislation and I urge you to contact your congressman/woman.

You may well ask WTF has this got to do with RPGs?

Well, just from a blogging perspective this means that you could be censored for a whole range of posts where your original content draws on themes from movies, characters, locations or even ideas or even sharing that link to a funny fan generated karaoke video. If the owner of the copyright deems that you've crossed the line, at best you'll be staring a DMCA Takedown Notice in the face with no recourse to "fair use" or "safe harbour" and at worst you could be facing a legal challenge and potentially a punitive fine.

As a roleplayer I'm concerned that this legislation will ultimately damage our hobby and as a member of a democracy I am against the corruption of democracy by the money and power of "big business" for its own agenda against the will of the people.  If you're like me and feel that we are on the brink of a cyberpunk dystopian future, act now before its too late.  And here's a message from your Vice President Joe Biden.

Thanks for listening.   

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