Brain Droppings: Internet censorship acts destroy freedom of expression
Read the News story on the internet censorship acts here.
I try to log onto Facebook, only to find that the site is blocked by my government.
Luckily, this is not a reality…yet. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, and Google may become blocked by the U.S. government in a few weeks.
Congress is working to pass the PROTECT IP Act and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), laws that will block access to domain names that infringe on copyright laws. They also give corporations greater power to sue websites that contain links to copyrighted material.
These proposed laws could shut down many search engines and social networking sites. Websites would be held responsible if users posted copyrighted material. If websites like FaceBook didn’t censor every user, then the government would block access to them using the same methods that China or Iran uses. Many websites could also go bankrupt in trying to monitor each user.
Ordinary non-commercial users could face a five year sentence for streaming any copy-righted work that costs more than $2,500 to license. This means that singing a pop song and posting a video of it on Facebook would become a felony.
The Internet is one of the most popular and effective mediums of self-expression in modern society. It is also the largest knowledge base to have ever existed. Many events such as the Occupy Wall Street movement or the revolts in Egypt were posted on Tumblr before they were covered by the media. Trying to block entire websites is worse than burning libraries and museums, because the Internet contains much more art and information.
One of the most abhorrent things about these laws is that they give corporations more rights than the individual, all in the hopes that people might buy more Hollywood movies and over-priced iTunes songs. While it is understandable to want to stop piracy, the amount of personal freedom that the proposed laws sacrifice is not worth it.
Ways to take action against Congress’s attempt to pass these laws can be found at www.americancensorship.org. If PROTECT IP and SOPA are passed, freedom of expression could become just another product to be marketed to the public.
Scott Novak an Opinion Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.