It’s an incredibly busy start to the year for us here at frag.co.uk; but we’ve just got time to make you aware of an important event on today, 18th January.
There will be an INTERNET BLACKOUT on many websites. Wikipedia, Reddit and many other sites may be unavailable.
These sites (along with ourselves) are campaigning against the US laws (Protect IP and SOPA) which can shut down international sites without a trial. Not only does this hurt free-speech for US citizens, it fundamentally breaks how the internet works, and could easily lead to sites that the US government disagree with being targeted.
We already have seen similar ‘firewalls’ in China, but this has already started to happen in other countries too. A Dutch ISP has been forced to block a popular search engine – however, due to some workarounds, the site still works. Due to the law that was passed down, it’s instead blocked a popular rights-defending site who work to defend free speech, the EFFI.
A similar court case has happened in the UK already, and BT Internet have been forced to block a site at their ‘own’ cost. i.e. Their customers will be paying not to be able to access specific sites.
Mostly these are being blocked by companies which have the power and money to control Governments. It sounds like exaggeration, but currently EMI are suing the Irish government for not implementing these same “piracy blocking provisions” fast enough.
The UK government have constantly tried to pass similar laws. While we don’t have a voice over the laws in the US, we cannot allow these laws to proceed, or they will soon be here too.
In related news, the head of the MPAA (the company which is pressuring the US Government to pass these laws), who is also a Former Senator, Chris Dodd has said:
“It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and use their services. It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today.”
He believes that Wikipedia and others are wrong to shut down their sites by their own option. Instead, he believes it to be fair that his company should be able to do remotely without any recompense or discussion.
The UK government have constantly tried to pass similar laws, under the same guise. Previously these were headed by the Conservative Lord, Peter Mandelson (completely co-incidentally after meeting with DreamWorks founder on his Yacht in Corfu) and it was tried to push these laws through before the previous change in Government in the hope it wouldn’t be noticed. Incidently, the US tried to push these similar laws last year near the very busy time of Christmas. People noticed. It’s clear that these companies know they do not have public support and are keen to push these laws ahead in private.
Not only could UK companies websites’ be blocked under these laws, as well as damaging the underlying infrastructure of how the internet functions, it’s clear that the UK will be likely to follow suit if these laws are passed in the US. While we don’t have a voice over the laws in the US, we must stop this happening; and Wikipedia, Google, Reddit – even the Whitehouse – and many other companies and people all agree.
Whatever your opinions on how to deal with piracy, it’s hard to admit there isn’t a problem. If you’re any kind of artist or publisher, your works will almost certainly still be pirated at some stage. However, these laws don’t mean that you can do anything about it – only those with money and power will be able to.
Perhaps these Governments only believe that piracy is only wrong if it’s stealing from the wealthy?