By now, you may have noticed that this site did not join the SOPA/PIPA protest blackout. It was a conscious decision, though not necessarily an easy one.
I am a strong supporter of copyright and creators’ rights, both as an author and as an intellectual property attorney. I spend half my days protecting that which other people create, and the other half creating works I fully intend to protect on my own behalf.
I believe that we need strong legislation to protect the rights of copyright holders, and equally strong protection for freedom of speech. I cannot, at this moment, tell you how that legislation should work, but in the immortal words of Justice Stewart … “I know it when I see it.”
The SOPA/PIPA legislation has been variously described as “stopping a thief by carpet-bombing every house on the street” and “stopping an escaped lion by blowtorching kittens” (Credit to The Oatmeal.com – not linked here because post-blackout the site will return to its usual NSFW state.)
From what I understand about the legislation, both are accurate analogies.
It is inappropriate to protect copyright by removing even an infringer’s right of due process. While the current system is clunky, expensive, and about as frightening as a blind and toothless three-legged kitten, allowing third-party termination of private websites without judicial review is inappropriate and ripe for exploitation.
The law is a hatchet, not a scalpel, and it cannot be used for delicate operations. Placing that hatchet in the hands of every child with a grudge can only lead to mayhem on an epic scale.
Call or write your Congressman. Sign a petition. Tell our government that freedoms must be protected, but due process cannot and must not be denied.