Which might lead to the end of internet as you know it.
I’m not the first to write about this because SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act)/PIPA (Protect IP Act) has been on the radar since October last year and the internet community has been rife with theories and explanation of its repercussions. However, it concerns me when my right of speech is taken and the notion of some Tom, Dick or Harry having power over the content I produce. Life of an aniblogger is already a harsh one because not only we are a small community but very niche. Our reviews take time with different mixtures of thought and added media of screenshots, videos and songs. We talk in-depth about the underlying themes, music, story background, characters and staff that makes the series that we so love. In the end, we are involved in this fandom on daily basis rather than occasional spurts of writing. We are obsessed in other words and the reason we have a following is because the feeling is shared by many other likeminded people.
Before scaring you all out of your pants, let me quickly go over what the hell SOPA/PIPA is for those who have been living under a rock. It has been a hot topic for digital content creators: Bloggers, Podcasters, YouTubers, Web/App/Game developers, basically anyone with an online presence and following. Recently, at least SOPA has been squashed for good. The video below gives a good explanation of what it’s all about:
Now imagine an online life where the content is missing and the material that you so obsessed over can only be attained by paying for it. Not to mention, some of the content you want won’t be available subbed just because it didn’t got licensed. Forget about Fair Use Policy because you can’t even link to the media that you have no right over. It wouldn’t matter if you buy it later and do your best in supporting the industry with merchandise and Bluray/DVDs purchases. This skewed view of controlling the content is almost tyrannical. And this will NOT stop piracy rather it will hurt new ventures and even budding content creators by taping their creativity from going rampant.
Time to say NO to Uncle Sam’s candy
Adding to Chikorita, Marth and Baku’s points, all the aniblogging sites and other fandom sites will be under threat of being shut down causing an overall downfall if these get passed. The trickle down effect will be slow for other countries but as the US market is the hub of internet traffic and content consumption, it will cause the biggest downfall for internet to-date. Imagine no animanga getting subbed/translated just because the respective groups went out of commission. Torrent sites will be shut down and same for DDL sites. What about the people who don’t have access to this content legitimately in their countries? They are totally out of the equation. Anime industry in itself will become limited to Asia only. Now I understand why the entertainment industry is pushing for it so much. Hollywood lobbyists are the main culprits behind these acts including some manga publishers as supporters.
Truthfully speaking, I’ll pay for the titles I like but content providers should look at their revenue streams and make it smarter and easily accessible to viewers rather than making it even harder. Not to mention, limiting the freedom of opinion about different shows we like and no right of using a song we like as a background on a podcast…? I mean, what would happen to free publicity and getting the word out there? Isn’t anime industry already facing enough issues of its own to further limit it with this?!
Therefore, this is definitely not the time to stay silent. A lot of sites have already raised awareness and showed their intention to join in the January 18 blackout and aniblogosphere shouldn’t be left behind. This is the time to make a stand and get yourself heard. Be vocal and protest against such censorship rather than just sitting around assuming it would blow over. It might actually blow over now that the White House has shown its displeasure on SOPA but that doesn’t mean the anti-party could celebrate just yet. Within hours of White House statement, SOPA has been shelved; however, PIPA is still around and a changed version of SOPA can actually return later on.
I initially wanted to go ahead with the blackout on 18th January but as SOPA has been shelved, I don’t think it would be necessary. However, raising awareness and showing your support against
SOPA/PIPA is needed with latter still being rampant. For wordpress sites, managing this is easy peasy with a slew of Plugins already available (take your pick). If you are an aniblogger or a reader, I suggest you do the following and join the cause because it IS srs bsns:
- As our main traffic driver is US population, I request our reader citizens to head over to Americancensorship and DO SOMETHING by contacting relevant senators.
- Add some relevant graphic to the header/sidebar of your animanga site with “Stop Censorship” message.
- You also have an option for a blackout using plugins to go dark on 18th January between 8AM-8PM EST (check this link for conversion to your local time). Metanorn readers should decide if we go for a blackout or not.
- Do the same for Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr or whatever social networking sites that you use.
- Make this known and spread the word. Being in the know is better than not knowing at all.
If worse comes to worst and future reference, you can always do the following:
- Google Chrome users can download MAFIAAFire Redirector, which intercepts domain names typed on address bar and loads site’s numeric IP address instead.
- Firefox users can download any of these two extensions: DeSOPA and MAFIAAFire ThePirateBay Dancing, which do the same thing.
- Reddit users have created a SOPA emergency list. Save it for future reference.
Be vocal. Take a stand. Don’t let the suits ever decide the content for you.