Posted by on Jan 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

Internet Blackout SOPA/PIPA, and treating U.S. citizens/websites like Wikileaks

Special Release in solidarity with the Internet Blackout of Jan. 18, 2012

by Chase Iron Eyes

Lastrealindians.com is pleased to announce it stands in solidarity with other prominent web presences participating in an “Internet blackout” in protest of two controversial anti-piracy bills: The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senate companion, the Protect IP Act (PIPA). The purported purpose of those wishing to pass both bills is to protect the intellectual property rights of content providers (music, film, digital art, anything online and copyright-able). Effectively, these 2 bills are creating a conflict between the content providers of the world (read corporate controllers of each industry) and the platforms or source providers, including giant internet resources such as Google, Youtube and Wikipedia, and even potentially independent websites like lastrealindians.com. As an aspiring writer and content creator I understand wanting to protect intellectual property rights associated with any original media or other creations. However, there are fixes and laws in place that protect United States holders of intellectual property rights.

One such law that protects copyrighted material is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA); but while the DMCA focuses on removing specific, unauthorized content from the Internet (which is currently done on YouTube, for example), SOPA and PIPA instead target the platform — that is, the site hosting the unauthorized content. [1] Under the bills currently being reviewed, the U.S. government could limit the interactions of U.S. citizens and U.S. based platforms (websites) that wish to interact with other sources, international and outside U.S. jurisdiction, that the U.S. could potentially deem “rogue”; rogue refers to a source/website is potentially violating U.S. intellectual property laws.

Various internet resources that share material/content that could potentially be deemed “rogue” are not the only targets. Not only will the U.S. potentially shut down sites under its jurisdiction they deem rogue by forcing those sites to track user behavior, but it will also limit how U.S. citizens and internet resources are allowed to interact with websites outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. For example if there is a site outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. that the U.S. deems rogue, the U.S. can block commercial transactions and other access options by U.S. citizens and websites that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction, like Google, YouTube, Wikipedia and Lastrealindians. The U.S. could effectively shut down rogue sites before granting those sites an opportunity to defend a charge on whether or not they are infringing intellectual property rights. Blocking commercial transactions sounds a lot like the witch hunt executed against Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder, for providing information to the people.

Julian Assange is a modern-day warrior; Assange is counting coup on a different field, however. Wikileaks is dedicated to providing unprecedented access to information highly sensitive to the maintenance of the “Corporate-Colonial Western Media Spectacle”[2] by current “1st” world powers, including the United States. Assange’s (Wikileak’s) release of sensitive nation-state cables has activated various corporate and nation-state machines (think conspiracy theory) to his and all free-thinkers’ demise. These machines effectively silenced Wikileaks by bringing rape charges against him in Sweden, extraditing him in a controversial manner, and holding him on house-arrest for over 400 days ongoing without an indictment. Assange could eventually face the death penalty in the U.S. for Espionage (spying) even though he is not a U.S. citizen. This is not a game.[3]

The same things the machines have done to Assange are the same things that the U.S. is going to be authorized to do to any site deemed “rogue” and visited by U.S. citizens and websites –censorship. If one item on a site is deemed rogue, the entire site can be silenced. That should scare the crap out of us because the need for unfiltered access to real information is the last and final check and balance that the people have against the Corporate-Colonial Western Media Spectacle. The supporters of the bills suggest that this legislation is specifically designed to protect intellectual property rights of U.S. persons, including corporations. However, I do not view it an imaginative leap to conclude that independent sources could be censored, silenced and attacked “legitimately” for interacting with content providers or providing content that the machine deems “rogue.” I am genuinely concerned about the future “free” use of the internet. This is the battle of the digital frontier and many believe that SOPA and PIPA are the warning shots. Who controls what we get to view on the internet?

The SOPA at Sec. 204. (5) (B) gives an indication of an impending Wikileaks-like scenario whereby paypal contributions, credit card transactions, advertising relations or other transactions with “rogue” sites could be banned:

Whether the United States Government should initiate a process to identify and designate foreign entities from a list of notorious foreign infringers that would be prohibited from raising capital in the United States.

Language in the SOPA and PIPA bills as they now read would let the Justice Department force Internet Service Providers to block the domains of suspected foreign “rogue” sites. Not only are the forces trying to outright block the sites that you and I can and cannot have access to, the forces also want to have the power to direct internet service providers, credit card companies and online advertisers to cut ties with a site that “they” deemed “rogue.” (See CBS news link cited at FN 1)

There is no doubt in my mind that these warning shots are indicative of a pre-emptive strike to the rapidly evolving nature of internet activism as seen in the Arab Spring, Occupy movement, and Wikileaks bomb-droppings. What happens if we are silenced?

The U.S. Senate is set to vote on the SOPA/PIPA and hopefully other amendments and compromises. Call your Senators, Congressmen and Obama. Pay attention my relatives.


[1] General portions of this article were taken from a mainstream source, http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57360665-503544/sopa-pipa-what-you-need-to-know/

 

[2] This term is the writer’s own and is loosely used to describe the collective of western institutional (legal, social, political, economic, media, and others) forces which have combined to create the reality we know today.

 

[3] General information about Julian Assange taken from http://www.swedenversusassange.com/