We are protesting some of the language in these bills…
You may have heard that there is legislation pending in the form of both a House Bill – H.R. 3261 (SOPA) and a Senate Bill- S.968 (PIPA) that could have the effect of completely changing the very nature of the free and open internet as we now know it, and effectively creating a huge propaganda machine enabling those inside and outside our government to accomplish whatever they wish, without recourse. This is all under the guise of “preventing piracy” and protecting intellectual property, including prescription drugs. It is, however, a potential “stick in the eye” of our God-given rights to freedom of speech, press, and association, which our Constitution so plainly guarantees to the people and to corporate entities alike.
The House Bill claims it has Constitutional authority under Article I, Section 8, Clause 8, which reads: “The Congress shall have the Power to:… 8. Promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;”…. Folks, this is a smokescreen to cover what the rest of the bill does, which is to indemnify service providers, domain registrars, etc, who “voluntarily block access”, to sites, which in their sole discretion (without court order), are infringing, or “endangering the public safety”!
I have taken the time to read most of the bills. I am not an attorney, and I don’t fully understand all the legal language of which H.R. 3261 and S.968 are made. I am relying on the HR 3261 Bill Summary dated 10-26-2011 which states, in part:
“Requires online service providers, Internet search engines, payment network providers, and Internet advertising services, upon receiving a copy of a court order relating to an AG action, to carry out certain preventative measures including withholding services from an infringing site or preventing users located in the United States from accessing the infringing site. Requires payment network providers and Internet advertising services, upon receiving a copy of such an order relating to a right holder’s action, to carry out similar preventative measures.
Provides immunity from liability for service providers, payment network providers, Internet advertising services, advertisers, Internet search engines, domain name registries, or domain name registrars that take actions required by this Act or otherwise voluntarily block access to or end financial affiliation with such sites.
Permits such entities to stop or refuse services to certain sites that endanger public health by distributing prescription medication that is adulterated, misbranded, or without a valid prescription.”
may beshould be the right of a business to refuse to provide services to entities with which they don’t wish to do business for any reason, they should not be able to arbitrarily block access to an internet site without some sort of due process (equal protection under the law) for the site owners. This bill would allow site blockage at the service provider’s discretion without legal consequences or remedy for the blocked site owners. It gives them the ability to take your site away, and they don’t have to give it back, and you can’t sue them even if they are wrong.
We, as fellow small business people need to take a stand for what is right, and against those things that are wrong; put our sacred honor on the line, and let the chips fall where they may. If I lose business over writing this, and taking the personal stand that I do, then so be it; I will be the stronger for it, in any case. It is what it is: our elected officials who continue to allow this sort of action against the the people (and small businesses) in favor of large corporate interests (drug companies and media companies) should be dealt with accordingly.
I am urging each and every one of our readers here to educate themselves on this subject, and then to call their representatives in both the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate today, and tell them that you want them to stand up on the side of the people, the Constitution of the United States, and on our First Amendment Rights, in particular. Tell them you want them to defeat the SOPA and PIPA bills now pending in the system because, while they protect the interests of what are in great measure, large corporations, they also infringe on the rights of the people to engage one another in a public manner without recourse against those who might have differing views. Tell them you want them to vote against any and all attempts to stifle our freedoms.
Here is a quote from WikiPedia.org, who is staging their own protest of these bills:
“The reality is that we don’t think SOPA is going away, and PIPA is still quite active. Moreover, SOPA and PIPA are just indicators of a much broader problem. All around the world, we’re seeing the development of legislation intended to fight online piracy, and regulate the Internet in other ways, that hurt online freedoms. Our concern extends beyond SOPA and PIPA: they are just part of the problem. We want the Internet to remain free and open, everywhere, for everyone.”
There are better ways to protect intellectual and patented property than to have internet service providers policing the system at their discretion without due recourse.
– Jeff Bayer, Owner, Elk Grove Business Net
As a business owner who has it all on the line on the internet, I have taken a stand against SOPA / PIPA legislation as it currently exists as of the date of this writing. While there is nothing wrong with large corporations being what they ARE, it is what they are CAPABLE of that is what worries me. If they succeed in altering what individuals are allowed to post on the internet, then they are CAPABLE of altering EVERYTHING that is on the internet.