Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dropping the SOPA

Imagine if you walked into a music shop to get hot new dance compilations and amongst all the racks of price tagged and security coded products there was a little section down the back with a sign displaying 'free music in here, no questions asked!'. Would you excuse yourself from the burden of guilt and moral standard to grab as many dance compilations as your heart desired? Or would you take the moral high ground and legally purchase the product for the benefit of the industry and the (already loaded) artists who selflessly toiled (paid ghostwriters and engineers) day & night to create (recycle) their art?

It doesn't matter, the SOPA movement is already waiting outside the establishment with a sack full of explosives and the blessings of the US government, kind of like Iraq or Afghanistan, but with dance compilations. Your ability to evaluate risk and reaction is now irrelevant, you are no longer burdened by the concept of choice and the powers that be have their fingers firmly placed inside you. Whether or not you were there to steal the readily available free music or just wanted to innocently browse the dance compilations, the music store is now a smouldering block of contradiction and Morrissey posters because a bunch of suits and caught a particularly contagious case of sandyvagina nervosa over the fact that the free music was there in the first place, EVEN IF THAT FREE MUSIC WAS MADE AVAILABLE BY A THIRD PARTY (user: freEdAnCeMusiC1987) OR OFFERED BY A PARTY THAT SHARES NO AFFILIATION WITH THE SHOP IN QUESTION. That shop should've known better, that shop should been rigorously policing the intent of these third parties to make sure the artists didn't lose out on any profits so they can attend their gold plated rehabilitation clinics and pay off gossip magazines to 'spy' on their 'secret' weddings.

I'm neither surprised by nor interested in the motives of the US government regarding this proposed bill. Governments by definition are shady, self-contradicting and immensely powerful clubhouses whose primary purposes range from running entire countries to covering up or awkwardly justifying the fact that their very existence is abrasive to the concept of governing and running entire countries. Blah blah blah rage against the machine. What I am confused by is the method of protest by the sites that these bills will immediately effect and even the ones that they might not. Again, these sites don't even have to be aware of the fact that piracy is occurring within it's darkest reaches to be shut down, hence the panicky nature of the blackouts. It's like a chandelier store in Pakistan shutting it's doors because they were thinking about banning the sale of light bulbs in Australia.

Wikipedia was the first site of note to announce it's protest, imposing a 24 hour blackout that would deny it's millions of daily users access to it's plethora of (mostly accurate) information, implying that those responsible for imposing the bill rely on it or wouldn't be able to access it's pages externally. Google, Reddit, Twitter and millions of previously irrelevant blogs and forums have since advertised their support, being sure to provide links with their arguments should anyone feel the need to visit their site before they close it down. Blackout page views are still page views it would seem....

So the U.S government are attempting to outlaw web-based sources of information due to increased piracy and for the protection of intellectual property by threatening to eradicate these sources of information with no warning. Aka, pretending to look busy. So what do these sources of information do out of protest? They eradicate themselves from the web. Ace! That's like giving everyone a preview of what the internet would be like withou.........wait a minute! By blocking information from the general public you're also giving the government a preview of what the world would be like without readily accessible information! It all makes sense! Students, confused parents, the elderly, the sick and the unintelligent can now all join in the good fight by knowing fuck all and being denied of their usual sources of information and/or entertainment.

Whether or not this remarkably backward approach to protest has made or will make a difference to SOPA's progress will remain undetermined until the bill is actually passed or passed and then slightly altered or not passed at all. Until then the sites in question will no doubt continue doing the government's job for them and then no doubt claim it was their actions that prevented the bill from coming to fruition and not the actions of the millions that are actively protesting it through the normal channels, like sending letters, signing petitions and occupying landmark financial districts for days on end whilst getting tear gassed and arrested for their contributions.

Thankfully I'm here. In light of the blackouts and the large percentage of Earth's population that rely on the ctrl+c and ctrl+v functions of their keyboards for assignments and plagiarized intellectual property, I've gone to the liberty of providing several proven alternatives to help you brave the shitstorm that is currently the internet:

 The most popular search engine known to man and the Internet's shining beacon of knowledge and the subsequent power that comes from it. Type your query into the magic box and watch as Google's all-knowingness floods your cerebral core with the answers to the questions that matter, questions like 'what are sea monkeys?', 'how big are double beds?' and 'why is my poop green?' to name a few.

Absolutely pathetic excuse for a search engine that was relevant for about five minutes back in 1998. You won't find what you're looking for, but you can sure as hell still access the site.

3. Public Libraries.
If you were born before 1991 you probably remember what these things are, but you probably haven't been to one for a while because you have an internet connection and a username for

If you were born after 1991, imagine tumblr, only the content and information has been composed and researched by actual people as opposed to copied and pasted by millions of template tattooed post-goth, pre-hardcore teenage girls with bleached hair. It's knowledge without the irony, and you can hold it in your hand.

4. Sports
If ESPN's brilliantly directed 30 for 30 series has taught me anything, it's that sport has either influenced or extinguished some of the most important political events in history. You don't even have to participate in sports to learn from it, which is perfect if you happen to be a template tattooed post-goth, pre-hardcore teenage girl with bleached hair.

5. This blog.
I only post original content that is relevant to my interests and I'm allergic to sharing and reblogs. The fact that you're sitting here reading this means that we share the same interests so let's learn together for pete's sake!

For more information on the SOPA bill and it's effect on your knowledge and power, be sure to check out the Wikipedia page, it's easy to find on account of it being the only Wikipedia page that is excused from the protest.