Fight SOPA Censorship with Censorship!By: Chris Richardson - December 13, 2011
It’s clear the SOPA/PIPA hubbub has been a polarizing issue, one that stretches far beyond mere web chatter. Big name industry giants have thrown their hats into the ring very loudly and very clearly on both sides of the coin. It’s as if a minor war for Internet control has broken out, and it’s largely being ignored by the television media.
Yes, the web is all over the story, but there still-primary vehicle for content delivery in the United States — the television — and the media entities that take full advantage of TV’s reach don’t cover this incredibly important issue with nowhere near the zeal they have for the #Occupy movement. Of course, politicians and lawyers going back and forth about the benefits/negatives of SOPA/PIPA doesn’t photograph near as well as 20-somethings getting pepper sprayed on Time Squares does.
No, the battleground for this fight is the Internet, and one of the largest pieces of ordinance for those opposed to these protection acts, well, those of us without the pull of a Google or a Viacom, is through contacting of local government officials. In fact, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon has been one of opponents of these protection acts, and has made liberal use of the Internet to get his message across, including the introduction of the OPEN Act, an alternative to SOPA/PIPA crafted by Senator Wyden and Darrell Issa, House Representative from California.
Furthermore, Senator Wyden has also dabbled in the viral aspects of the web with his YouTube video discussing his intentions for his filibuster, which includes reading names from the Stop Censorship online petition.
Another method, however, is the using actual censorship to show just how potentially damaging the acts — especially in their current form — can be.
Over at the Stop American Censorship movement, they have a tool that can blur out selected text from web documents, and the only way to remove the black bars covering the text is to click an uncensor button that navigates the user to a page that allows them to contact their state representative.
An example of it in action:
I’ve censored the following, in protest of a bill that gives any corporation and the US government the power to censor the internet–a bill that could pass THIS WEEK. To see the uncensored text, and to stop internet censorship, visit: http://americancensorship.org/posts/6069/uncensor
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The actual text, for those who don’t want to click over:
This is test paragraph demonstrating how censorship actually works. The haphazard approach in the SOPA/PIPA pieces of legislation have provisions in them that give certain entities the power to censor others, with only the implication of infringement. This does not represent the principles on which the web was founded on, and because of that, it’s easy to understand the opposition provided by Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter, to name a few.