Last Friday, January 20, at the Nonprofit Commons in Second Life, we had a great conversation about the proposed SOPA / PIPA legislation that would impose stiff penalties on websites and internet services that posted links to alleged copyrighted content. About 45 avatars crowded into the NPC amphitheater to share their views on bills before the US Congress, and the potential impact on the internet, free expression, and virtual worlds.
Thanks to the 45 avatars who came to participate!
Here's a summary of the some of the key points and links for further information and commentary.
Links to basic info, news and external commentary about SOPA / PIPA:
- Library of Congress: actual text and summary of SOPA
- Boing Boing commentary
- Propublica on SOPA and US Congresspeople
- Clay Shirky TED Talk on SOPA
- New World Notes on Second Life and Sopa
General commentary on SOPA / PIPA:
- Glitteractica Cookie: well, we [TechSoup] are not pro PIPA or SOPA that's for sure... but we technically are a non-politically affiliated org
- In Kenzo: Here in Hollywood as for many media people and producers this is a difficult issue, pitting people against studios
- Hour Destiny: I'm in the IT field, with network admin experience, and knowledgeable about Internet matters, so have some idea of the impact SOPA/PIPA would have on the Internet.
- DJ Earnshaw: actually the main priority is giving government more control by pretending to target offshore piracy
- oO0Oo Resident: torrents (does not equal) copyright infringement.
- Nuala Foxchase: It feels like legislation written by someone with no appreciation of the primary function of HTTP in the first place. :(
- Jenelle Levenque: I do object to piracy, but I object to using a sledge hammer to kill flies
- In Kenzo: IntellectualProperty and Piracy are important items for any community that engages in user-community driven content
- In Kenzo: Every kid who has dreamed of making a Harry Potter fan vid to machinima producers may be in the line of fire here
- Rhiannon Chatnoir: then, there is of course the domino effect, the internet is a interconnected system, so whatever laws we make here to punish foreign piracy, influence/effect laws made elsewhere
- Jenelle Levenque: In SL we are on both sides of the fence. We are content producers and consumers
About civic action surrounding SOPA / PIPA:
- Rhiannon Chatnoir: I made a tshirt in anticipation of this talk and you can grab a copy in the box on the ground near Rik, it says "I Fight for the User' on the front and "stop internet censorship' on the back
- Jenelle Levenque: I got involved the past week or so. Called 2 Senators and 1 Representative yesterday
- In Kenzo: I love that this issue is activating teens. the 12 year olds here wrote to their senators.... as content producers, they care too
- In Kenzo: It has been amazing to see how the blackout day shifted the way our reps are voting on this one
- Rhiannon Chatnoir: I think InKenzo, the moment Wikipedia voted to go dark, that really impacted a broader base of internet users and caused more media attention.... we all love Reddit and I can Haz Cheeseburger and a lot of the other sites that spearheaded the blackout earlier, but the average internet user probably isnt as effected by that then Wikipedia
- Nuala Foxchase: I think that even just Wiki going down had enough of a global effect in making it a talking point. I freely admit that I felt guilty when looking at long lists of politicians' contact details and feeling that as a foreign national, there wasn't anything I really fitted into.
- Peris Ashton: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just announced that he has delayed a scheduled January 24 vote on the Protect IP Act (PIPA). He had to postpone the vote because millions of activists like you had convinced enough senators to vote against it to guarantee that it would be defeated. Also this morning, House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith announced he is indefinitely postponing any consideration of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). We just won. While we need to remain vigilant about internet censorship bills cropping up in different forms in the future, for all intents and purposes we have defeated both SOPA and PIPA.
- oO0Oo Resident: The societal, and even global participation, in the form of the site blackouts leading to action, as well as garnering youth into political participation, and the ever growing grass roots connections, is all very promising in my view.
- Rodford Steinbeck: We're better off supporting open source and creative commons
- Jenelle Levenque: People only seem to react when it's their ox that's gored