Stand against SOPA/PIPA

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:

Be vocal. Take a stand. Don’t let the suits ever decide the content for you.

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40 Responses to “Stand against SOPA/PIPA”

  1. Shey says:

    Very good post Kyokai! I hate it when they say that they miss out on income due to piracy. I’m not sure about movies, but on ‘Billboard’ (American music charts site) they, at the end of each year, count and publish the number of albums/songs that have been sold/legally downloaded.. and the numbers are (almost) always higher compared to the preceding year. If people can’t even check out a song or movie on the internet anymore, they probably won’t even bother paying money for it. It’s BECAUSE this availability people come in contact with said song/movie and get interested (or not) and may consider buying it. To be honest, I think it’s all about control. They have lost control when it comes to internet and they hate it.

    • Kyokai says:

      Thanks, Shey.

      Personally, I would actually pay for the content I like but you can’t ask me to do that when I can’t even sample it. Many music companies have innovated their ways of selling and the reason iTunes can be called a success because people have choices and deals. Why not go this way rather than iron-fisting it all?

      There must be a limit to control and what about freedom of speech when there’s no content amalgamation? If this ever happens, creativity as we know it would be lost.

      • Tofu says:

        The tricky thing is we’re talking about anime here so ‘sampling’ it isn’t as easy as how itunes does it with their music :\ Let’s keep our fingers crossed that SOPA/PIPA won’t be put into action

      • Kyokai says:

        I’m not saying it’s easy but just because it being niche doesn’t means corporations can’t do it.

        • Tofu says:

          I wasn’t implying that you did say it was easy Kyo xD I was just adding my thoughts to the conversation…

  2. Yippy says:

    I was wondering whether Metanorn was going to be vocal about this and what SOPA/PIPA was about. Thanks for writing about this.

    Here in Malaysia, the Internet is about the only free space we have to voice our opinion without fear or favour. Even so, The Man still holds a firm grip with laws and has more laws in mind (which thankfully, some are arguing against). So, I think I understand the need to take action.

    I may not be able to help much (if there are ways, please give a shout), but I wish you guys the best of luck.

    Go get ’em, you Yanks. =)

    • Kyokai says:

      This is one of those factors that need awareness because people should speak out. Anibloggers especially because if this gets passed, our hobby would be squashed.

      Not to mention, Asian citizens already have too much law and rules thrown at their face and like you said, internet is one of those few places where we can speak whatever we want. No one should have the right over our freedom of speech.

      Thanks for the support, our job is half done just with more people being aware. I can only hope that PIPA gets shelved too.

  3. BlackBriar says:

    This is ridiculous. Hasn’t the government done enough damage? If this bill gets passed, it basically destroys the internet itself. It’s not a way to stop piracy, it’s just another greed tactic because despite what they already have in their grip, they feel they don’t have enough power.

    Other countries have the right to express themselves no matter what the situation. They deserve to suffer this nonesense. Besides, I spend most of my time on the internet on my laptop as much as anybody in this day and age. It’s become something very vital.

    If this was a real war, the anibloggers have my unconditionnal support. There’s already enough restrictions as it is and the entertainment industry hasn’t contributed anything, so the drawback for them should be that they receive nothing. If only there were a lot of petitions to give these bastards a severe backlash. Thanks for writing about this. Go give ’em hell!!!

    • BlackBriar says:

      Second part: “They don’t deserve to suffer this nonesense”. My bad, I got really emotional after reading the post. Those people are greedy idiots.

    • Kyokai says:

      I understand your emotions too well and I went on one trip myself while writing this post. Not a single decade has passed without government involvement regarding freedom of speech and showing one’s opinion. Hell, being an Asian and suffering through different oppression from first world countries historically, it bothers me to no end that they keep on squeezing for more power and control over everything.

      Internet has been an ingenious hub of creativity since its inception and though many people abuse it, there are many still who constructively shape it and make it a better place for millions of people. Why curb their creativity and why even bother them?

      With SOPA being shelved, at least there’s some hope. Now I’m just waiting for Jan 25 results of PIPA but if push comes to shove, at least I’ll go trying my best rather than just sitting around.

      • BlackBriar says:

        And so these oppressive bastards make their move. Today, I was visiting one of the sites where I download anime and I saw that MegaUpload, one of the best downloading sites has been seized and shut down. Which is a serious blow to sites like cyber12.com and especially animesensei.net which basically means 100% of their links have been killed.

  4. Hawthorne says:

    My polisci class and I tried to raise awareness at school a couple weeks ago, but nobody seemed to care … and then we got in trouble for hanging posters around the school without asking. -__-

    I haven’t checked the sources, but people on tumblr are saying SOPA was shelved indefinitely, but not PIPA. o:

    Awesome post btw! (:

    • Kyokai says:

      Oh man! This is the limit of being not in the know. -__-
      I guess it’s youthful negligence but I’m glad you guys at least tried to get the word out!

      And yeah, SOPA’s shelved yet but no news on PIPA. The reason the blackout will still happen as announced by many sites already.

  5. Tofu says:

    Forgive me if I’m saying something stupid but wouldn’t a blackout be something the people behind SOPA and PIPA want? They want to shut us down and if we’re going for a blackout to protest… in other words we’re temporarily shutting ourselves down? O_O Could someone explain this to me? I’m really confused. OTL

    By the way I’m leaning mainly towards anti-SOPA/PIPA due to the fact that they’ve crossed the line of being a ‘fair’ Act.

    But I just want to ask you guys, how do you think the people who create the animes, the movies, the songs and the games feel about us taking their content for free?

    I’ve been to a seminar (more like forced) where a video was shown of different music artists talking about how the internet has become the main place to get music from and because of that, musicians find it hard to make the amount of money they would usually make. By all means yeah they have HEAPS of money but just wanted to say, if you do support a certain person, band, group, company or whoever. Do buy their stuff to show your support.

    • Karakuri says:

      Hmmm…. This is my own assumption, but I figure that the whole blackout thing is to raise awareness for what would happen IF it was passed. If a whole bunch of sites shut down a once, there are going to be more people who will realise how much SOPA/PIPA will affect them.

    • Yippy says:

      Good point there about the content creators. I’m all for them getting their share of the pie, but I’m against half-baked measures such as these.

      As you said, not only could it overstep its boundaries, but piracy would still be rampant even after the bill is enforced. So, it’s kinda like going back to square one, but with more problems than solutions.

      In my opinion, entertainment companies should accept the fact that Internet piracy is here to stay and won’t be solved by vague laws. They should innovate and think out of the box to attain the profits they so desire.

      • Tofu says:

        Hmm… well their way of innovation to attain profits is the use of itunes for musicians and for gaming companies, that would lead towards the use of Steam which does work but wouldn’t fully provide the profits they wish so in other words, there’s nothing left for them to do in creating countermeasures against internet piracy UNLESS they sell their product or service in a way that would make HEAPS of people say “you know what? Stuff piracy, I’m gonna buy this” which is very unlikely to happen to the majority on this planet.

        • Yippy says:

          It would be hard, but reward doesn’t come without work or passion, right? Sorry if I’m beating around the bush though, I know very little about business and the workings of the world economy.

    • Kyokai says:

      Tofu, Like Kara said, the blackout is clear protest by all these companies/sites to make their voices heard by the decision makers. It’s a 12hour blackout, which might even cost the many high-trafficed websites but they are doing it for the community and showing their unity and displeasure of curbing their rights caused by this bill.

      Also, I did mention that supporting the industry with purchases is the right way to go. I’ll side with Yippy with the overlook on policies because if iTunes can be made, a cheaper version of file sharing can also be done. It’s easy to say it can’t be done rather than getting it done.

      I’ll give a you an example of Pakistan, a content company bought legal digital content from India and the ring tones and movie trailers acquired were distributed via memory cards (for mobiles) in $1.7 per 512MB card/$2.8 per 1GB card. This is a successful business case, even quoted in India. So, it’s not that there are no way, it’s how you do it.

      • Tofu says:

        Yeah I know, I wasn’t trying to imply that you didn’t say that Kyo just I wanted to tell everyone else that just supporting this anti-SOPA act so they could leech anime or anything else for free with no intention to support the companies in anyway isn’t something I can agree with. If you’re one of the people who do want to support them but don’t know to then I can understand but if you’re a person who only cares about freebies and pay no attention to supporting what you love most then there’s something wrong there.

        I guess I might have phrased it wrong but I didn’t want to imply there was absolutely no way in doing things, just that it’s very hard to do it but thanks Kyo for the Pakistan example, I never knew about that

  6. […] and don’t know what this commotion about, I suggest brushing up about it by reading my post and Kyokai’s take from Metanorn to realize how destructive these bills are to everything we love. Afterwards, contact […]

  7. Reaper says:

    I’m not an American, so I might not have all the information about the events behind this Bill. From what I’ve heard before, it was some push started by some Presidential candidate/Congress member/Senator who wanted to get a bit of attention for the ‘radicalness’ of the idea. Go figure.

    Frankly, I wouldn’t mind such an idea if it protects legitimate businesses and enterprises that loses a lot of money, like video games and film companies (even though they DO pull in millions of money already from hard copy sales; if they don’t, usually it means they weren’t good products to buy anyway ;P)

    Taking away freedom of expression is not the way to go. Censorship is not the next step, otherwise the United States will take a step backwards somewhat like what happens in China with their infamous internet filter, stifling us the people of our free will to enjoy what we want, be it funny videos, listening to good music or reading the blessed pages of Metanorn itself 😀

    Good thing it’s been shelved for now, and personally, I think it should be shelved forever, not because I want it to, but from the fact that the US controls ALL of the Internet services and domains, which I think is already a monopoly on Internet (other countries probably should start considering about starting up their own domains or services like that to avoid this problem…); if they want to go ahead with something like that, I’ll accept it as long as it protects the right people and punishes those that actually deserve it.

    SOPA’s already shelved and hopefully PIPA will get stopped/revised by those who think with their heads whilst looking over the fine print, not at their ratings…

    • Kyokai says:

      I’m of the same opinion. If the bill was made with ‘good intention’ rather than so many loopholes, which have full chances of abuse by authorities, I wouldn’t have written this at all.

      I see entertainers complain a lot even when they not only just get money with theater views/ DVD/Blurays but merchandise and digital content rights to hundreds of telecom companies. Being from the marketing field, I can tell you they have loads of revenue streams and DVD/Bluray sales is simple one of the many.

      If someone should complain, it should be the mangakas, who get menial pay compared to their anime counterparts. Being anibloggers and followers of fandom, at least we should support the industry however we can.

      I hope PIPA gets shelved too. Forget about getting rankings and points senators. Do something good for the people for a change. >.>

  8. lvlln says:

    SOPA may be shelved for now, but it’s important to stay vigilant and remember that it can come back at any time. For that reason, I think any effort taken to publicize this is a good thing. And keep in mind that, because content owners also own the TV stations, the mainstream coverage of this travesty of a bill (er, 2 bills, including PIPA) has been extremely lacking. Spread the message far and wide; any congressman supporting either bill is acting in direct opposition to the USA constitution and the liberty of its citizens.

    • Kyokai says:

      Exactly. Not the time to do the happy dance just yet. My pledge remains to all American readers to raise their voices and spread the message of ‘this is a bad idea, yo’.

  9. T.K. says:

    This whole SOPA/PIPA thing just reminds me of the infamous Tokyo Bill 156, which was an explicit content ban on anime/manga. The situation is deja vu right now and SOPA will probably be revised, re-emerge and following the course of how the Tokyo Bill did, be passed with or without opposition.

    The worse part is individuals in other countries don’t have a single say in it. We’re not eligible to exercise our amendment rights because we’re not US citizens but we’re eligible to get sued out of our trench coat so I’ll be in support of this stance Metanorn is taking. Because it’s the only thing I can do from where I live right now.

    • Kyokai says:

      Oh, don’t remind me of that bill, due to which most of the animanga I read is getting censored now. ><

      And yes, the thing that really kills me is that people around the world don’t have much to say just because US literally monopolizes internet. I will be amazingly bothered if my content is controlled by such tyrants. I won’t have motivation to put up the content I produce shedding my blood and sweat. Hopefully, PIPA sees mount doom sooner and never returns from purgatory!

  10. Will says:

    I sort of have to include my tech knowledge in there. I can’t just walk by and say nothing when it’s about networking xD

    So both of those bills are actually dangerous towards the fundamental structure of the Internet. You cannot just alter the DNS system like that, especially in US.

    Also, Top Level Domains (TLDs, .com .net .org etc.) belong to the ICANN which is an international organisation. However the master file and server belong to the US. (if you dig down, the Internet is really dirty -__-)

    Funny thing, some ISPs designed new DNS servers and protocols with enhanced security, some have migrated to these new technologies, however the new more secure web is no longer compatible with what the bills ask for.

    • Kyokai says:

      With this detail, I’m even more apprehensive about these bills. It’s like they are trying to control the internet by hook or by crook. People should be raising their voices alright. This is not ON!

  11. Jasmine says:

    Thank you for your article, I do however want to mention that SOPA has simply been delayed. It is still set to be voted on in Feb. The only thing that happened was that they were not able to sneak a vote in right before everyone went to their happy happy winter break of goodness. So SOPA is far from dead…. it is just hiding out till they figure the bad press has died down.

    • Kyokai says:

      Thanks for the comment and yes indeed, SOPA isn’t dead yet and we can’t do our victory dance just yet. I’m glad Wikipedia went through with the blackout and so would reddit and many other sites. Our duty should be to raise awareness and get the word out and even protest if need be.

  12. Iso says:

    So, is Metanorn going to blackout as well? A number of anime sites are doing it to protest against SOPA as well, and I’m wondering whether or not to do it as well for Nabe…

    • Kyokai says:

      Most of our readers vetoed the blackout so we’ll not go out completely but we’ll not update during the time as well. I don’t want the re-enactment of the last time we went down and our followers getting rattled. Though, we’ll be raising awareness with graphics (banner, sidebar, wibiya, etc.) and usual shoutouts around our social links.

  13. Namika says:

    Gosh this is depressing. It feels so obnoxious, I can’t help it. On YT, they’re already bitching people and removing content, ignoring the laws of fair use. I HATE THAT so much! Sorry, Hollywood, for not buying DVDs of crappy movies that come out every couple of weeks. ==”
    ><""""""""""""" MUKATSKUUUUUUUUUU
    Where is Kira when we need him xDD

  14. skylion says:

    I’ve been asked to contact my Senator in regards to SOPA/PIPA. I didn’t elect this official, and in fact participated in his opponents campaign. My Senator’s occupation before his election. Eye Doctor. Oh, and he’s read Atlas Shrugged like a gazillion times (that is almost a shoe in these days for higher public office). My Senator ran on “Taking America Back” and in true Libertarian fashion talks the talk about keeping government out of people’s lives. He supports SOPA/PIPA wholeheartedly. I’ve written the emails. I expect a very bland response from his D.C. office. The same bland email I got when I spoke out against his support of gutting our state’s coal miner’s union, the same bland email I got when he countering his stance in support of corporate person-hood and the SCOTUS Citizens United case. “The Senator takes these issues and your views seriously, thank you for your participation” Yeah, man, that and five bucks will get me a latte.

    This rally against the government is an illusion. Congress is the floor show. The stage show. It’s the rabbit out of the hat. The misdirection.

    Keep the anger and fear directed at our elected offices. This theme is starting to show it wear.

    This issues is not about piracy. Not even close. Anti-piracy is the standard, but it is a false standard. This is about Corporate America and the thing it fears. It fears a self-educated populace. It fears a population that is wicked fast at being socially mobile. It fears a people that will stop spending money for all the right reasons.

    But there is one thing they really forget. The net was created on the tax payer’s dime. Most of you have seen Serial Experiments Lain. That was a primer on the creation of the WWW. All of it done, subsidized, not by corporations, but by our government’s institutions. By our Federally subsidized educational institutions. IOW, by the people’s investment in the future.

    Three of four years ago it was Net Neutrality. Today its Anti-SOPA/PIPA. It will be called something else in just a few years.

    So forget about piracy. It isn’t about piracy, not one damn bit.

  15. Mad Hatter says:

    Heh ACTA has been overshadowed by the SOPA and PIPA hype. ACTA is a trade agreement between countries that specifically targets counterfeiting online. This would give ISP’s more leeway to track down those pirates worldwide. Japan is on the support list, will this be the end of anime sharing and fansubbing as we know it?

    For more information: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/london/how-acta-would-affect-you-faq/2773

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