Today americancensorship.org is organizing a call-in to US Senators in order to express reservations and concerns about the PROTECT IP act, one of two proposed laws being pushed forward by the Entertainment Industry in the name of protecting copyrighted work from piracy.
The problem is, their proposed cure is worse than the disease. If either of these bills are passed, they will not only unravel the infrastructure of the Internet but they will, I believe, put independent creators and entertainers at risk: today it's possible for an independent creator to wake up one morning and find that their website has been taken down due to a DMCA notice, simply because someone put one of your songs, or your comics, or your books, or your movies, etc., on a list that wrongly claimed you were pirating it. It's already aggravating to get that resolved under the DMCA--but with the PROTECT IP act, not only can your site be taken down, but your DNS entries can be re-routed to another server, and services like PayPal, or Amazon Kindle, or CafePress or your bank can be ordered by the government to shut down your accounts and withhold money you earned.
You'll have been labeled a pirate, and until you un-label yourself--a process which has not been clearly defined--your ability to earn money from your work has been taken away.
You can expect the only people who profit will be big record companies and movie studios. No one else. Now it appears that the RIAA and MPAA (the lobbying groups that represent these two interests) consider that just fine, but I don't. So today I called Senator Manchin and Senator Rockefeller and I told them my concerns about the PROTECT IP act, and I urged them to oppose it when it comes up for a vote.
If you are a United States Citizen, please consider calling your State Senators today and ask them to oppose the PROTECT IP act, and tell them why. Chances are you won't talk to your senator directly, but explain your concerns to a staffer and stress that there are legitimate people in legitimate businesses doing legitimate things who will be impacted by this law. The other side claims only criminals will be affected, and this is just not the case.
Want to call your Senators but you don't know their numbers? Here is the official list.