Tag Archives: Blackout

Educate Yourself on SOPA & PIPA. Also Why My Site Isn’t Going Black Today.

18 Jan

So yesterday I worked on a lovely new recipe for all of you.

Something quick and simple.

Suitable for a weekend snack or tailgate party.

I almost had it ready to publish and the more I thought about it I just couldn’t.

I need to talk about something else today.

You may have noticed that some of your favorite blogs and websites aren’t up.

They’ve gone black.

You can read about it here and here and I’m sure many other places around the web.

This is all in protest of an online piracy bill. SOPA.

I’m not that tech savvy so instead of taking my site down for the day (and fearing I may not be able to bring it back) I though I’d take the opportunity to add my two cents about this bill.

Youtube videos like this one are easily found with a simple SOPA search and offer some easy to understand explanations.

What is SOPA?

SOPA stands for Stop Online Piracy Act.  It is the sibling bill to PIPA, which is the Protect IP Act.

These bills are written in a way that makes them basically look good on the surface.  On the surface they want to wipe out online piracy sites that offer illegal downloads  of media such as music, software, videos, etc.

The scarey part is this opens the door for ANY site to be shut down even if the person is doing noting wrong.

For example. …

I’m I huge fan of the Joy of Baking website.

The recipes are wonderful and with each one you get a history and back ground information on the recipe.

This was part of a recent status update from their facebook page:

This week a major cookbook publisher issued a demand to our server company to take down a recipe alleging we were infringing with one of their books. We were forced to take down the page while we appealed this baseless attack on us. Not only was the recipe significantly different, but recipes aren’t even copyrightable under US law. All we did was referenced the author and the book that we used to help us develop our recipe. This is perfectly legal and what all cookbook authors do. But that didn’t matter, we are guilty until proven innocent. We have appealed and expect to have the recipe back up this week, but this was a huge wake up call for us and it should be for all of you.

With SOPA/PIPA it wouldn’t have just been the one recipe that was taken down.  The ENTIRE SITE would have been taken down.  It would have cost them time and money to appeal the governments decision.

For most of us who blog, we are NOT million dollar corporations.  We do not have the funds or resources to fight if our sites are taken down unfairly.

If this bill is allowed to pass it could truly change the internet and our freedoms of speech as we know them.

The most recent news is that the White House reaction to SOPA has tabled it, but there’s no reason why it can’t pop up again with a different name or a couple of simple changes and it would pass through silently.

Please go to house.gov.  Enter your zip code. Find your representative. Let them know how you fill about this bill.

**Update:  Google is hosting a petition against SOPA. You can it here.