Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Off-topic, but vitally important...


I generally try not to mix politics, religion, etc. into what I talk about here, but there are two bills that keep getting floated in Congress here in the States, the Stopping Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act, that are hugely dangerous not only to how the Internet works, but also to free expression everywhere (not just in the US). To talk about how it might affect us card folks for just a second, it's my understanding that if this bill passes and a card company's intellectual property lawyers decide that they don't want you using their artwork for whatever reason, they can file a complaint against you, and not only will your site get blocked from view before you even have a chance to file a counter-notice, defend yourself, or so forth, but you're also likely to face criminal charges for the infringement in question.
 
Still think this doesn't concern us?

Seriously, go to sopastrike.com, get the lowdown and take whatever action you feel is appropriate against this all-out attack on our rights. I would actually black out this site tomorrow as many, many other sites including Wikipedia, Reddit and The Internet Archive are doing (I'm blacking out at least one of my other sites), but Blogger does not make it easy to do so. Sometimes, user friendliness has a cost. I'll be leaving this post as the top one throughout tomorrow.

Thus far, the card companies have been very forward-thinking on intellectual property issues, realizing that we're actually promoting their product rather than "stealing" it, and I'm really thankful for this, but it's entirely possible that they could actually be legally compelled to change their policies on our use of their images as part of the fallout of this bill being signed into law, if it ever does pass (and enough of Congress seems to be in the thrall of the entertainment industry's lobbyists for this to be more likely than you'd think, no matter what their constituents actually want). It's scary, and it will almost definitely be the end of this era of free expression as we know it in the civilized world, no exaggeration. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which already is law (Google it), is already used very often (too often) to stifle actual speech rather than just "busting evil internets pirates", but there's at least some recourse there and a lot less overreaction in the legal language. This goes much, much further, and we need to stand up to the greedy, corrupt, short-sighted fools responsible.

3 comments:

  1. +1. Hugely important and quite possibles carries giant ramifications for us cardies. Surprised more people haven't mentioned it!

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  2. Just wanted to thank you for this post, I had been planning my own protest post for over a week but seeing yours helped me get moving on mine. I also infringed upon your copyright a smidge, please don't shut me down :)

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  3. Not a problem, my revolutionary brother! >:D

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