You may have noticed that both Google and Wikipedia are acting a little funny today. . .
They've been "blacked out" in order to draw public opposition to a power-grab piece of legislation pending in Congress, the so-called Stop On-line Piracy Act (SOPA).
Like most gobbledygook coming out of D.C. these days, SOPA is a front for the Nanny State. Plain and simple. Yes, intellectual property theft is a real problem; and Yes, the internet has only served to worsen an already bad situation.
But how would the gov't use its power to shut down domain sites and confiscate domain names in the future? Written to prevent copyright infringement, SOPA (like RICO) is easily morphed into a political tool by a creative prosecutor or judge. Crying "copyright infringement" is already used by political parties, corporations, and various interest groups to silence their opponents. Youtube, Hulu, and other internet sites quickly remove vids for no other reason than that the unflattering content of those vids offend someone with a point-of-view.
Make no mistake. Our Nanny State Betters would love more than to have legal recourse to shutting out their opponents. Pro-life Christians? Out. Defenders of marriage? Out. Anti-public union activists? Out. Catholic bishops teaching the faith and "offending" delicate feelings? Out. Post a video of a politician saying something stupid? Out. Right-wing talk radio annoying you, Senator? No worries. You get the picture. Just about anything can become a dispute over intellectual property with the right politician writing the definitions.
The basic question for me is: when has giving gov't bureaucrats more power to define and regulate our lives been a good thing? The internet is one of the last arenas of truly free discourse in the U.S.
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