The problem with censorship is that it kills ideas some good and yes some bad as well. The Nazi’s that are in fact responsible for the Holocaust used censorship of books that they deemed Un-German by burning these books to control an entire Populus. With the advent of The SOPA Act that congress is trying to pass this may actually become a reality for all of us in America. The original intent of this bill which I am not against is to stop the illegal downloading of copyrighted materials off the Internet; however I feel that this bill will be abused like so many bills are in the name of what the powers that be believes is right and wholesome.
Let’s look at some of the things that may also occur if this bill is passed under the general assumption that it will be black and white and not have any grey areas. The Nostalgia Critic (www.thatguywiththeglasses.com) does reviews of things from yesteryear of his childhood and he avidly uses clips from these movies and television shows during the video review but he does not have the permission to use these clips. (I am not saying he does not nor am I saying he does for I am not able to verify this fact; this is just an example that is a pure fabrication of fiction for the purposes of this blog so please Doug don’t shoot me I just happen to like you a lot so I am picking on you.) Now under The SOPA Act his entire website and livelihood that he has been doing for well over three years will come to an abrupt end because he is showing but not distributing or allowing anyone to download copyrighted material. I feel that this possible scenario would not only be a tragic loss to all of us fans but it would also push this bill into the realm of hogwash.
Again I need to state the original intent of this asinine bill: To protect copyrighted material from being distributed over the Internet. Again I state that I am not against this bill as it stands but I am leery that it will start to remove all copyrighted material from the net regardless of why it is there. I do not see, view or really understand how The Nostalgia Critic is doing anything wrong being he is not allowing anyone to download the material that he makes quite hysterical every week but under SOPA he might just become one of the thousands of innocent sites to be blacklisted.
What does blacklisted mean? This means that the site in question will no longer show up on any search engines and it will be blocked at the ISP level under their firewall or censorship machine. What this action is going to do is open up a tidal wave of sites being blacklisted because the government does not feel that we need to be able to view it and they will most surly state that The Patriot Act is why the removed this or that site. Now the first glaring problem with this bill is it should have been passed when Napster was taken to court in early 2001 so this bill is in affect over a decade too late. What the government needed to do in February 2001 was to pass a bill like this to cut the head off the snake before it grew into the gothic thing that it is now. If they had passed a bill of this sort back then it would have been firmly in place before The Patriot Act was passed so it would have had no jurisdiction over The SOPA Act but now it will and this is where the real problem lies.
I am going to go on the record that this entire blog is speculation and I am not in a position to state any of my ideas as facts and I will not until this bill is passed and then enforced. I am not going to mince words here though: I see this as becoming a reality and maybe even more severe then I have discussed here. What can you do? Please go to http://www.americancensorship.org and sign the petition, join my Facebook group End SOPA Now! and have a voice and get everyone that you know involved as well, stand up to censorship and tell your local representatives that this is unacceptable because if they can censor the Internet the next step could be to remove the same information from publically funded libraries and then of course from bookstores. This is just the course that this entire bill can take if it is not absolute in its intent and if they allow other bills to muddle it up or even worse they pass an earmark and change it without our knowledge.
In the past the best way to control us here in America was to keep us ignorant but with the advent of the Internet we are less unknowing as we used to be so then they went with fear or as one book is titled “The Shock Doctrine” as I call it. Well the fear isn’t working as well anymore so they are going back to the old stand by of keeping us all in the dark so we cannot make informed decisions. Things that you can do to combat this: Read your local paper or any newspaper daily (I read The New York Times on my Nook), read The Nation, do not rely on television news or the Internet for all your information. Learn the issues and decide on what action to take when you vote and not just some guess or just because they are this or that party. I am not a fan of Republicans nor have I ever voted for one but I am still following them on this campaign because maybe the eventual candidate may get my vote; highly unlikely but I cannot just shut them out just because they are Republicans. Just remember that it is impossible to graft a new idea on a closed mind so remain open and honest with yourself and lets all do our part to combat censorship on all levels.
Side Note: As soon as I can I will post page numbers, authors, publishers, Dewey Decimal Numbers, and ISBN numbers from books that state what our rights are under The First Amendment is on the Internet and so far all I can state as fact is Freedom Of The Press.