sopa and pipa
Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 5:30PM
Michael Patterson

It looks like the online community has won, for the time being, the battle to stop SOPA and PIPA. The online protests—including the one-day shutdown of Wikipedia and other big sites—generated so much heat that key House and Senate supporters of the bills backed away.

We'd better be prepared for ever fiercer attacks on freedom of information on the internet. The bills ostensibly were written to protect “Intellectual Property,” but could all too easily have been used to shut down speech that corporations don't like. The corporatocracy cannot maintain control over American government and American life if the internet is allowed to continue to evolve ever more powerful ways for people to communicate, debate, and organize politically.

Statist regimes like China and theocracies like Iran heavily censor internet communications. In this country the constitution makes it hard for government to censor internet postings directly—although with this Supreme Court, anything is possible—but Sopa and Pipa get around this by essentially privatizing censorship. 

Internet freedom is the only barrier to corporate feudalism in this country. That this attack was partially authored by Pat Leahy, our supposedly liberal Senator, is doubly troubling, as is the apparent fact that campaign money from Hollywood blinds him to how easily and insidiously his law could be abused.

Article originally appeared on Proportion Wheel (http://proportionwheel.squarespace.com/).
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