The Green Party is blacking out their website for an hour today to protest the Stop Internet Piracy (SOPA) and PROTECT IP (PIPA) Acts currently debated in the US because of its impacts on New Zealanders access to a free and open Internet and online businesses.
You’ll notice Frogblog has a black colour theme today too. I’ve blogged about why Kiwis should be concerned about the proposed laws over at The Standard.
On January 18 the likes of Google, Wikipedia, and The Creative Freedom Foundation will be either blacking out their sites or posting protest messages to their websites as part of an international campaign. The campaign has already had some success with Congress just yesterday deciding to postpone a vote on SOPA which some interpret as ‘indefinite shelving’ but it still remains and PIPA is still live in the Senate.
It’s a big deal. Imagine a small Kiwi online business blocked from Google searches, running online advertising or even processing VISA transactions or even losing their domain name because of a US copyright allegation that they can’t afford to challenge in a US court.
Like Skynet, this law will be easily circumvented by those in the ‘know’ and won’t even solve the problem. As research from Germany shows, increasing availability of digital content demonstrates one can combat internet piracy without huge costs, stifling innovation and infringing upon basic rights.