So. January 18th, 2012. Blackout Day on the Internet.

Basically, because of SOPA and PIPA threatening to wipe out free speech on the internet, a bunch of websites, big and small, have locked their contents for the day and left a note for their readers/users/contributors/etc explaining why.

No, actually, I’m not being hyperbolic about this. Watch this video for details (the last minute of the video is probably most important in relation to this post):

I support this black-out. It’s meant to show people – people who might otherwise not pay attention to something about Hollywood – what the internet could end up looking like if these laws get passed.

However, I’m also in Canada and thus, like everyone else outside of the U.S. (who none the less uses U.S.-based (either by owner or by ISP) websites), I’m pretty-much stuck.
Their vaguely-worded, heavy-consequence-bearing would-be laws would screw the rest of us, too, but we don’t have a political voice (or perhaps a political ear?) to harass their congress into stopping it.

See… Here’s the thing. In theory, this is about the entertainment industry having cart blanche to shut down any website (entire site – as in all of WordPress, not just one blog) they’ve decided is violating copyright laws in some way (like, say, someone posts a video of themselves recreating a Lady Gaga video in their livingroom). But it has the potential to be grossly abused both in the U.S. and as a model for laws passed elsewhere[1].

This is why people are so (rightly) up in arms about this. And this is why, if you live in the U.S., the rest of us would really appreciate it if you’d get on the phone (or the email, or the twitter feed, or the snail mail, or all of the above) to your congress-person/senator and tell them in no uncertain terms that you do NOT support these laws and don’t want to see them pushed through. Americancensorship.org even has a handy pre-fab letter you can send in directly (hey) via the internet.

Go forth and save us all.

Thank you, (no, really, THANK YOU),
Ms Syren

[1] Like here, not to put too fine a point on it.