Comedians used to play a gag on their friends. They’d tell some completely pointless story about one polar bear talking to the other (or maybe it was two elephants). Finally, one would say “no soap, radio.” Both comics would laugh hysterically, hoping that others in the crowd would start laughing too, even if they didn’t get the joke.
The content industry in the United States is trying to pull a fast one too. They’re claiming that a draconian law favored by the Recording Industry Association of America called the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is the only way to combat copyright infringement in America. The bill, as it has been proposed, would undermine the carefully constructed notice and take down system that has served rights holders and social networking sites for over a decade.
Instead, websites would be exposed to provisions warning that venues “dedicated to theft of U.S. property” can be denied access to credit card and payment services if they are taking “deliberate actions to avoid confirming a high probability of the use of the U.S.-directed site to carry out acts that constitute a violation” of U.S. copyright laws.
I don’t know what “dedicated to theft” legally means. I don’t know what would constitute a “high probability” under the statute. I do fear that if this bill passes, a new generation of music content sharing/social networking sites will find themselves threatened by harsh, business crushing legal actions at a time when Internet radio is starting to find its creative edge.
That’s why I support all the actions taking place today against SOPA and its companion legislation in the Senate, the Protect IP Act. Wikipedia is mostly blacked out, but its statement against the proposed law is still up. Please read it, and learn how you can keep the Internet open and uncensored.