Good news! SOPA and PIPA have been “indefinitely shelved”. We won! Well, we did, right? Yes, and no. We won this battle. We did not win the war! We cannot forget this. Let me say that again, because it is really important.
We cannot forget that we only won a battle. The war continues!
The SOPA/PIPA battle was not the first in this war. They will not be the last. They’re not even the last current battle. New legislation has already been introduced that we have to raise our voices against, in H.R. 1981. (More here) (And, thanks to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, you can speak out against it here!)
So, what can we actually do? There are many things. One thing that we have to do is stop putting the same ridiculous power structure in place. We have to stop voting for the same Republicrats and Democans who have been bought and paid for by the powerful money interests who no longer share the same interests as the rest of us. Those same interests, who no longer even represent the interests of the content creators who they, perhaps, once represented. These Republicrats/Democans are just going to keep introducing bills into the system until they accomplish their goals. And, one day they’ll get one through. Either because someone wasn’t paying attention so the word didn’t get out, or the public was too weary or distracted with other issues, or simply by slipping small pieces of it in with other bills until the total is there.
The truth is that immediately after our victory, the government acted to show us that they didn’t need these new “tools” in order to achieve their nefarious deeds when they shut down the largest file locker site on the net, megaupload.com. Don’t go looking. It’s done.
Last I checked, there were 10 arrests. And, this was a site which had the backing of MAJOR content providers. People like Swizz Beatz, Kim Kardashian, Alicia Keys and Kanye West, among others.
(Just for the record, I am not nor have I ever used megaupload.com. This is not because I am opposed to it. I am just not that big a user online. I have a dropbox account and that serves my purposes thus far. However, I see this as a threat in the war, and I take it personally!)
This guy makes some really valid points in a very blunt style, but he also misses the point. Still, it is worth reading. Mainly it is worth reading because it is important to understand that the part he is right about is this. The blackout by itself is pointless. It is only one aspect. We must ALSO act. We must also boycott those who support the forces who introduce these bills. We must also call, email and sign petitions. We must ACT. Not just abstain from action.
Now comes this:
This is almost impossible to achieve, but if we as a community could actually pull it off, then it would be extremely effective. We would have to each, as individuals, commit to it and follow through on it. That’s the really hard part. The follow through. Not only no purchasing, but no downloading.
But, I suggest we take it even further. Many of you like to shop. I suggest that you continue shopping. Do it. Shop in the stores. Shop on line. Fill those shopping carts. Don’t fill them needlessly. Fill them with what you actually want. Get them all the way up the point of purchase, then, leave them a note instead, “These are the items I would have purchased. However, in order to make MY voice heard as a consumer and as the ENGINE that drives the economy, be it known that I am intentionally abstaining from this purchase that I could have made. I am doing this so that those who would try to censor the internet in order to recreate their profits will hear my message. Hands off!” From there, the store can spend the labor costs to restock. Online, they’ll have a bunch of shopping carts, and it won’t have the same impact. Still, leave a link to the static page where that graphic above is housed and the word will get out.
As illustrated by the constantly changing list of organizations that supported SOPA and likely have supported the other incarnations, to conduct a true, targeted boycott would be nearly impossible.
I think it’s really key though to also not download illegally. It needs to be as close to total as possible. Seriously people, don’t we have enough music, movies, TV shows, books etc that we could keep ourselves entertained for one month without getting new? Couldn’t we use the library or visit with our friends? Aren’t there plenty of things we could do? I get that most of us are addicted to getting the newest of these things, and I have NO idea what is scheduled for release. I promise you though, whatever it is, it will still be available in May. And, if we all go without getting it, and we let them know that this is why, in May, the sales will be awesoooommmmeee!!
So, you win either way. You just have to show a little patience and perseverance. A little delayed gratification.