Wednesday, January 18, 2012

No soup for SOPA

Lot's of sites are blacked out today including everything from Wordpress, which in a way makes me glad I haven't transitioned. See, a blackout of my content today would be against my will, and no matter who does it, I don't want it happening. (I've since been informed that the Wordpress blackout was an opt-in, which is a much better process). I support the general idea of the blackout to educate those who wouldn't pay attention otherwise (teens, less internet or politically savvy folks), and I support specifically sites whose whole purpose is to provide information about someone else's content in joining the boycott (Read the statement at GamingNexus on why the site is joining the blackout). But I don't want to be censored on the one platform I have, even if it's by the people who provide my service.

I know I'm not the original intended target of either SOPA or PIPA, but I know I could be affected just as much as anyone else. I pay for all of my online music (except that streamed freely via Pandora or Grooveshark), I don't pirate movies or video games, and I generally am a law abiding internet citizen.

Except when I do this:
I prefer the term fixation to the term obsession

See, I don't know who originally made this picture, or if the artist even legally had rights to use the Star Wars logo or the likenesses of the Star Wars characters. I don't even know if the link I found this picture at is the original owner. The effort to track down the owner of this picture and provide their copyright information would far outweigh the value of including it in a post. And that's the rub of SOPA. See, under SOPA, if say LucasFilm said "Hey, you have a bunch of people violating our copyrights, shut down", it's potential that the entire Blogger site could be shut down.

Now as Blogger is owned by Google, they could probably fight the shut down order, and maybe even win. But what about the person who is the user of the service. We're down for the whole time that the fight goes on. And what if this shutdown happens to twitter, or just say twitpic, a service that maybe can't afford to fight a lawsuit. Either they take the cost of the shutdown and try to work out an agreement with the IP holder, or they take the cost in both users lost and effort, by removing the images. 

But here's what really sucks: Right now, most internet copyright law is only applied if you're either A. Trying to make money off someone elses work (ie. If I sold T-shirts with the above image on it on my site), or B. Claiming it as your own (anyone who knows me knows I could never make anything this cool). I'm not trying to steal money or credit from anyone, I just love Star Wars and reference it whenever I can because it's had a big influence on my life. Sometimes that's best done visually. And under SOPA or PIPA, I could get shut down, or even get Blogger shut down just by doing what this. No one in the world thinks I'm responsible for creating Star Wars or the above image, but by not citing it (or for that matter not having any way to cite it because I have no idea who created it), I could cause a heap of trouble under the new law. And that's just ridiculous.

So please, look for ways to reach out to your legislators to help work against SOPA/PIPA. Because information used in a non-profiteering or credit claiming way should continue to be treated as "fair use" even if it technically violates the antiquated copyright laws, until such laws are changed. And support content creators who use Creative Commons licensing, which gives you an easy way to find who to cite, and you can use to your hearts content (no limited-use clause) without fear of repercussion.

PS. I know this was way off topic for me, but I think it's an important one.

PPS. If this Pippa wants to target me, I'm good with that.

Oops. I did it again

PPPS. Dr Pain, as I'm affectionately calling my coach, tried to make my quads explode with hill repeats yesterday. The hill wasn't that steep but it's 2 minutes of climbing, and into a gusting headwind that was hitting 20 MPH at points. 


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