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On Censorship: Millions Say No To SOPA & PIPA…

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“The fact is that censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion.” Henry Steele Commager

On Censorship: Millions Say No To SOPA & PIPA... World Map of Internet Censorship...

Internet censorship by country– click on the link for explanation of the color coding. Lilac shows areas of pervasive censorship.

On Censorship: Millions Say No To SOPA & PIPA...

Call your elected officials.
Tell them you are their constituent, and you oppose SOPA and PIPA. Why? SOPA and PIPA would put the burden on website owners to police user-contributed material and call for the unnecessary blocking of entire sites. Small sites won’t have sufficient resources to defend themselves. Big media companies may seek to cut off funding sources for their foreign competitors, even if copyright isn’t being infringed. Foreign sites will be blacklisted, which means they won’t show up in major search engines. SOPA and PIPA would build a framework for future restrictions and suppression… Wikipedia

Why is the internet on strike? By now, most of us know that this was a historic day on the Internet; many of the major players from Google, Wikipedia, WordPress to Mozilla decided to participate in a blackout in protest against a bill in the US Congress that could have an adverse effect on what we do. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate, which is planned for a January 24th vote, will limit our ability to use, share and interact with data we typically gather on the internet; even with the possibility of facing a 5 year sentence if we are found in violation of the law. Today, millions of internet users in the USA joined their virtual hands in protest.

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks the Internet

As Mozilla explained it, “Communication platforms – from YouTube to Facebook to Amazon – could be shut down if a single rights holder alleges a violation. It would make the Web less stable and less secure. Social networking sites, like Twitter or Facebook, could be forced to track and control user behavior, stunting innovation and undermining free expression. Your Internet provider could be required to inspect all of your traffic and browsing.”  As a blogger, I rely on the vast network of sites that provide me with pictures, videos, quotes, links and all sorts of information that would no longer be accessible to all of us.  Can you imagine a virtual world where instead of open doors, we have walls and boundaries…? It would be like going back to the dark ages.

“Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.” Potter Stewart

On Censorship: Millions Say No To SOPA & PIPA... Censorship is Oppressive...

Mark Zuckerberg: The internet is the most powerful tool we have for creating a more open and connected world. We can’t let poorly thought out laws get in the way of the internet’s development. Facebook opposes SOPA and PIPA, and we will continue to oppose any laws that will hurt the internet. The world today needs political leaders who are pro-internet. We have been working with many of these folks for months on better alternatives to these current proposals. I encourage you to learn more about these issues and tell your congressmen that you want them to be pro-internet. You can read more about our views here:Facebook Washington DC – Anti-Piracy Bills

According to a Los Angeles Times article, 4.5 million signed the Google petition, 1.458 on and over 350,000 sent emails from Fight for the Future. The tremendous outpouring of support for the blackout and protest showed that the virtual community we enjoy is not only vital and proactive, but also strongly supportive of efforts to ensure the internet remains accessible to all. Free Speech and Intellectual Property are vital to the creative process and the work we do on the internet. While there are those who use the internet with criminal intent, the majority of us use it as a medium of communication, as a resource for research, and for artistic purposes. SOPA/PIPA could take that away from us. Even the Whitehouse agrees it needs re-evaluation. No one should take their freedom for granted as this event will impact us all. It is imperative that we get informed and take action! Today, many on WordPress joined in by either choosing a full blog blackout or by adding a ribbon to our blog.  Join the WP Censorship Protest!  It is never too late to add your voice! More below.

“Censorship in any form is the enemy of creativity, since it cuts off the life blood of creativity: ideas.” Allan Jenkins

On Censorship: Millions Say No To SOPA & PIPA... Speak Fearlessly.

Today, Mozilla is joining the virtual strike against Internet censorship – along with others like Wikipedia and Google – to raise awareness of US Congress legislation that could fundamentally alter the Internet we know and love. This harmful legislation, called the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate, will be voted on as early as January 24th in the Senate. If you live in the US, there’s still time to help stop these bills from becoming law. Please visit for information on the bill, and on ways you can reach out to your senators…
Visit right now for information – and make your voice heard before it’s too late. Please join today’s strike, and help protect the Internet.
Jane & Winston

I received the email letter above (showing a portion) from Mozilla/Firefox today,  and it is a testament to the passion, energy and determination many organizations and groups showed, and the great effort made to ensure all of us were informed of the protest. Given the current state of the economy; with unemployment, foreclosures, lack of healthcare and other problems facing many, it would be wise for our Representatives in Congress to focus their efforts on ensuring that all of us have jobs, a place to sleep, and food to eat. Censorship is not the answer.
What are your thoughts? How did you respond to the event? What are your thoughts on Censorship? How will SOPA or PIPA affect you if passed? Do share! Thank you. 😉

Positive Motivation Tip: Any form of censorship is a vote against freedoms that must never be challenged. Speak up!

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos World Censorship Map, Mouth, via Wikipedia or Censorship Face by Isaac Mao,via Flickr

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

30 Comments leave one →
  1. 18/01/2012 9:29 pm

    I spent the day reading what I could on the topic–signed petitions, and really, really, really wish i’d been prepared to put something more specific in support on my own site 🙂 But I’ve been impressed with those of you who were right on top of it. And there is no doubt that this needs to be an on-going effort! Good job, Elizabeth! Debra

  2. 19/01/2012 1:23 am

    I have been censored by Facebook, which is I believe based in the USA. I was censored publishing articles from WordPress to Facebook.

    If I posted the link directly to Facebook, it was OK – and I think that was to do with the IP addresses. By posting directly, the IP would have been Australian.

  3. 19/01/2012 4:25 am

    It is heartening to see how many bloggers and others have protested about SOPA.

  4. 19/01/2012 4:49 am

    Good job. I also added the ribon. The situation is like during the war.

  5. 19/01/2012 6:29 am

    I’m so clueless most of the time that I need people like you to keep me in the loop. I did re-tweet your post and going to attempt to get the stop censorship ribbon on my homepage. (Another great challenge . . . wish me luck.)
    Thank you for this important information.

  6. 19/01/2012 6:47 am

    Speak up. Speak out. Be heard.

  7. Bree permalink
    19/01/2012 7:55 am

    Down with SOPA and PIPA! Down with Censorship! Down with Oppression! Information is power and they can’t take it away from us. As always, you’ve helped me understand the strike. I think others around the world should challenge their governments on this matter too.

  8. 19/01/2012 9:55 am

    This certainly says it all… “Given the current state of the economy; with unemployment, foreclosures, lack of healthcare and other problems facing many, it would be wise for our Representatives in Congress to focus their efforts on ensuring that all of us have a place to sleep and food to eat. Censorship is not the answer.”

    Our government can’t tie their own shoes without a scandal. What would we do if they tried to police the internet??

    I was very vocal yesterday as well.
    Thanks Elizabeth!

  9. 19/01/2012 11:27 am

    I joined the wordpress blackout yesterday. And had a good laugh at @herpderpedia. I think Wiki’s biggest success yesterday was informing a bunch of students what they could lose if SOPA/PIPA passed.

  10. 19/01/2012 11:42 am

    Such a blessing to have millions speaking to their congressional representatives in no uncertain terms, all within a 24 hour period. Now, if we could just continue to speak out for justice at every level in every category! We really do need to stop being such wusses!

  11. Island traveler permalink
    19/01/2012 12:27 pm

    Freedom of speech and expression is a basic right of every person. The U.S. prides itself on protecting its citizen, ensuring that they can speak, write, express freely and without fear. Take that away, what else can we call it but injustice and abuse of power. I hope they would hear the voice of the millions who placed them in their gov’t. posistion. We are the people, we are the voice, we need to be heard. May this post inspire more to pursue their right. Wonderful post. Thanks.

  12. 19/01/2012 2:26 pm

    I can always count on you, Eliz, to bring me the resources and info I need to help me discover what is REALLY going on.
    Thank you!

  13. 19/01/2012 6:08 pm

    Thank you for bringing up this important issue. The censorship not only infringes freedom of speech in the States but for the whole world. Great post.

  14. 19/01/2012 7:53 pm

    I must admit, I had no idea about SOPA/PIPA — sometimes being here, I miss quite a bit! I learned about it when I emailed Wikipedia on another matter and in their response, there was some info. I dug a little deeper to inform myself, tweeted it and joined the protest. I’m a firm believer in freedom of speech so it was easy to sign on.
    Thanks for sharing this information, Elizabeth.

  15. 20/01/2012 7:00 am

    While I believe the legislation had good intentions, in practice it will be a nightmare for enforcement and will severely limit free speech on the internet. Let’s hope our Congressman don’t pass this. If they thought their approval ratings were low now, I can’t imagine what their ratings will look like if they go through with this.

  16. 20/01/2012 8:45 am

    good luck for stopping censorship!

  17. 20/01/2012 8:45 am

    Thank you for sharing more information on this matter. God Bless 🙂

  18. 20/01/2012 9:48 am

    Eliz, as always your posts are incredibly informative. I have to admit I was unaware of this impending legislation until this past Sunday. FREEDOM OF SPEECH is the American Way…I hope that doesn’t change.

  19. 20/01/2012 3:29 pm

    People unite once again 🙂

  20. 21/01/2012 8:27 am

    I too protested SOPA and PIPA. It is important to recognize our voices in stopping censorship. Strangely, one of the people whom I respected quite a bit wrote a story exactly the opposite of the protest, saying how ridiculous it was. I was saddened to see that she did not recognize the impact and understand the protest. Within so many voices united, there still lives ignorance and sometimes it manifests itself in the oddest places. It’s good to know that we can be heard and hopefully stop poorly written laws from having undesirable impacts. Glad you informed so many others!


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