By Thursday, the US government will have voted to give the MPAA and itself broad powers to block any site. SOPA would not only hurt free speech, it will choke off the internet workforce and its readers by taking down entire websites. People can kill it off entirely this week -- censor your posts everywhere in protest, and melt Congress' phone lines.
WHAT IS SOPA? It sets up the first internet censorship system by disallowing Americans from visiting websites when copyright holders claim to have issue with one infringing link on just one webpage on a website -- it takes down whole sites full of protected free speech for an allegation of infringement of just one link. It shuts down sites, jobs that are created via internet, and according to the government's cyber research center, bad for national security (also doesn't totally work technically).
People are pretty angry about two web censorship bills that would keep Americans from visiting websites like Boing Boing, Huffington Post, Facebook, Wikipedia, etc. and they've been very active in trying to stop these bad bills from becoming law.
This is the week to put all of our energy into killing the bill, to kill it for a long time. It's basically do-or-die right now. The must-kill web censorship bill SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act, House version) is going to a vote tomorrow that either means eventual passage to law or not.
Do people have the bandwidth to take a few minutes for a full-on censorship protest this week, today? Protesting censorship can take many routes, including censoring yourself. Regular internet users in every community can censor their own posts (on Facebook, twitter, tumblr, news sites, their blogs, and on and on), people can put up a call-widget to drive calls, and Wikipedia can surprise the world with all kinds of creative protests. The important output is to help melt the switchboards in Congress.
If you hate these bills, it only makes sense to fight now. It's super simple to censor your posts or take actions in your own way, and give your friends and family a way to learn about SOPA and help kill it -- insert any text into the censorshipeverywhere tool, get a censored message back -- your friends can "uncensor" it by calling or emailing Congress.
We made the censorshipeverywhere tool to put the power to kill these bills in your hands. Go wild with it. Use it to grab people's attention, and lead the way to defending internet freedom and free speech. You'll be doing the noble deed of defending jobs and national security too.
If the web censorship bills are allowed to pass with just a whimper, we will regret it for ages. On the flip side, we can kill the bill for a long time this week.
We can't let them pass this bill on us. An unprecedented coalition of tech companies, sites, and advocacy are joining and going out all week too, just because they hate this bill. The opposition is growing, we're fighting back because it only makes sense.
Follow Tiffiniy Cheng on Twitter: www.twitter.com/wayfwd