Thank You Wikipedia, Google, Reddit, Mozilla For taking A Stand Against SOPA And PIPA

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Wikipedia Blackout SOPA screenshot by JORM

A Big THANK YOU To Everybody Who Took A Stand

I am neither Democrat nor Republican because as far as I can see they are really just the same for the most part. Maybe the Republicans are a little more aggressive but they have both really lost their way. I personally don’t like to get involved in any political issues since it seems to me that big businesses and those with the money make all of the decisions, most of the time the voice of the people doesn’t ever seem to be a factor in creating new laws or deciding how government should be run. It seems that our rights and freedoms in this country are disappearing very rapidly.

That being said I am very appreciative that major websites like Wikipedia, Reddit, Mozilla, Craigslist, Cheezburger Network and many others decided to take a major stand today to create awareness of the dangers of SOPA and PIPA. Also thanks to everyone who took action about this. Although life without Wikipedia, even for a day, was  quite annoying, it was nothing compared to the reality we would face if this kind of legislation gets passed in its current form. I sincerely hope this will inspire more people to pay attention to what is really going on. Maybe we will begin eliminate the very real issue of serious corruption in our government. This issue really spotlights the blatant abuse of power by people like Congressman Lemar Smith who actually gets to decide which bills get heard and which ones don’t due to his position as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. I think it’s critical important for everyone to see the relationship between Congressman Smith’s sponsors and which laws get considered.

There were a couple of people who I feel laid out all of the issues very well and explained what exactly is at stake with SOPA and PIPA. The first one is Jimmy Wales the founder of Wikipedia, here is what he had to say. I also really respect the opinion of internet marketer PotPieGirl who has had plenty of issues with people pirating her works. Here is the blog post she made about SOPA. I also really liked what The Oatmeal had to say, I hope it stays up for a little while.


My Personal Copyright Experience

In 2002,  20th Century Fox attorneys attacked both me personally and my business when I tried to show The Rocky Horror Picture Show, one of my favorite films, in my music venue as a celebration of  my business’s first anniversary. After contacting their licensing agent, Criterion, I was told I could license the rights to show the movie in my establishment for $750. Criterion stated I could advertise the event however I wanted. I put a few thousand dollars total including the licencing fee into the event, only to receive a cease and desist by FedEx and fax on the day of the show.  This was my first time dealing with corporate attorneys and it was a horrible experience. Perhaps most disturbing were accusations by Fox’s attorneys that I was a thief attempting to steal multiple works belonging to their client. These accusations by Fox’s attorneys continued all day while they refused to accept my proof of payment for the rights.  Eventually the owner of  a local movie theater contacted someone at 20th Century Fox and involved them directly in the process. I received a call from someone,who’s name escapes me at the moment, who claimed to be very high up at Fox. That individual gave me verbal authorization to proceed with the show.

Unfortunately, by this time I had told nearly everyone that the show was cancelled. I decided to proceed with the show, despite having told everyone the show was cancelled, because Fox refused to refund the licensing fee. Due to this only about 20 people showed up and I was left with a loss of  several thousand dollars because Fox’s left hand didn’t know what their right hand was doing.  In my opinion Fox’s actions were the proximate cause of my business loss.  It was certainly a lesson about how viscous and ruthless the attorneys for these companies are and how little they care about doing what is right. Although there are certainly pirates that use these companies works illegally and deserve to be punished, they don’t seem to care enough to make sure they are not targeting the innocent. This is especially egregious when they do this to existing licensees.

I doubt my experience is unique. These companies seem to make an art form out of abusing the rights granted to them under current copyright law. While I do and always will strongly oppose piracy, it is my firmly held belief that granting those who behave in such a fashion cannot possibly be in the public interest.