When all else fails, I guess it doesn't hurt to try to appeal to our basic human absurdity meters - that little radar engrained in (most) everyone's mind that when tripped, helps them realize that something is simply too ridiculous to exist.
A new petition on the White House "We The People" site tries to trip that absurdity meter with an effective demonstration of the ridiculousness of SOPA.
The petition is entitled "VETO the SOPA bill and any other future bills that threaten to diminish the free flow of information." Here's the plea, in full:
"the more freely information flows; the stronger that society becomes" President Obama
By allowing free conversation it is so easy to drop a link
It would be ridiculous for an ISP to block the entire whitehouse.gov domain on court order because a single user posted a link. It is difficult for any web administrator to know which links to copyrighted material are done with permission. This will kill the free flow of information and conversation on the internet.
SOPA is too blunt. Please veto.
The petition references the SOPA provision that just a few infringing links, even if they are user-posted, can be grounds for the blocking of entire sites. Basically, "look how easy this is - in theory I just made whitehouse.gov an offending website."
The hypothetical "illegal" link is actually just a link to an image. As you can see, the idea for this petition comes from a redditor.
The petition was created only yesterday and has already amassed almost 19,000 signatures. In order to reach the next threshold and become eligible for an official White House response, the petition must receive 25,000 signatures by January 17th, 2012 (which might be a little late, given the current SOPA timeframe).
This isn't the first SOPA-related We The People petition to gain momentum. Early last month, a petition emerged asking the administration to "stop the e-parasite act." Although that petition is currently approaching 50,000 signatures, it has yet to receive an official White House response.
This and other petitions like the one advocating for the decriminalization of marijuana have led folks on the interwebs to become quite skeptical of the power of the We The People initiative. Take for instance the petition on the site that stated "We demand a vapid, condescending, meaningless, politically safe response to this petition."
When the history of SOPA is written, it's unlikely that this little petition will have a starring role in the story - but that doesn't stop it from being a wonderful example of the absurdity of it all.