Evidently, U.S. House Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) speaks Spanish, because that’s the message that he’s sending to American “netizens.” (Internet citizens.) The “Stop Online Piracy Act,” (H.R. 3261) widely known by its acronym “SOPA,” is a bill submitted to the house by Rep. Smith that, according to its detractors, threatens to undermine the internet that you and I have become familiar with. If the bill passes both houses of Congress and gets signed by the President, the government would have the power to effectively shut down sites such as YouTube, Facebook or even this very blog, even if only temporarily, just because someone alleges that the site in question contains copyrighted material from somewhere else.
Make no mistake about it, my fine young readers. This is a dangerous piece of legislation, and if it becomes law you might see the deaths of the afore-mentioned companies, along with a plethora of others. The funny thing about all of the rukus around SOPA, is that almost every broadband cable company is supporting it. Even funnier still is that until quite recently, internet domain registrar GoDaddy also supported it!
Now, we know that the entertainment industry supports this bill, that’s a given. What you may not know is that the newly-minted CEO of GoDaddy, one Warren Adelman, has ties to Hollywood that include divisions of NBCUniversal, (USA Networks) Viacom (MTV) and Warner Bros. (New Line Cinema) that date back to the late nineties, while he was serving as CEO of NeoPlanet.(1) (Funny that, eh?) To this suspicious eye, it’s no small wonder that Mr. Adelman would support his old entertainment industry buddies in this endeavour. The only problem with that, is that he now helms a company whose majority of users are on the opposing side of the debate! Shortly after announcing their support of SOPA, a boycott effort against GoDaddy was mounted, and all of a sudden things did not look like they were “Go”ing so well for GoDaddy, threatening instead to become more SLOW-Daddy. So last week, Adelman and GoDaddy backpedaled, withdrawing (at least outwardly) their support of the bill.(2) Other companies that support this bill have also become boycott targets.(3)
Meanwhile, Rep. Lamar Smith (a graduate of T.M.I. Episcopal School of Texas…TMI…too much information…infinitely fitting!) and his band of co-sponsors are scheduled to take up the discussion on SOPA again when the House reconvenes after the holiday break. My fine young readers, now is the time to make your voices heard and your words read. I would encourage each and every one of you reading this to write and call your U.S. Representative and Senator, and tell them you will NOT “sit for this bowl of SOPA.” In addition, please discuss this with your friends and acquaintances, and urge them all to do the same. Spread the word people, we don’t need to hand the Justice Department (keep in mind that this is the same Justice Department responsible for Fast and Furious!) a free reign to shut down and censor the internet!
If you want to see where support and opposition of this bill lies, please follow this link: H.R. 3261: Stop Online Piracy Act