Writer’s Notes: On Censorship & Piracy

There are a lot of web sites blacked out
today…a big protest against the government’s (or should we just say Hollywood’s, since they’re the major backers?) proposed answer to
fighting online piracy. As far as I’m concerned, these two laws
will be just as effective as DRM (that’s “digital rights
management” for books) – they’ll punish more honest people than
they will thwart piracy. And the pirates will find ways around it
anyway – any computer or network programmer will tell you that.

Censorship is never the answer to any
problem, in my opinion. Whether it’s people telling us what we can
read, or what kind of music we can listen to, or what web sites we
can visit – it never actually stops the people who want that
information from getting it. In fact, it usually just makes them want
it more, and do whatever it takes to get it. The people who want it
bad enough will find a way, and those who are willing to abide by the
rules are screwed out of the freedom to make their own choices.

How do we deal with internet piracy? I
don’t have a clue…and I have to be honest, I’m just not all
that worried about it. Yes, people pirate my books. No, I don’t
lose any sleep over it. Those people wouldn’t buy a copy anyway, in my opinion. I’m well aware that
plenty of people disagree with me, and that’s fine. Those of you
who feel strongly about it are welcome to find a solution, if you
can…

…as long as that solution doesn’t
impede my ability to view whatever web site I want to visit, and
allows me to link
to other web sites without fearing that my
site will be shut down due to the other site’s behaviors or links.

Obviously, I’m not blacking out my
site(s) today. Because it would be hypocritical of me to limit your
ability to view content while protesting laws that would do exactly
that (I understand the logic of doing just that, I just don’t
necessarily agree w/it). I’m not going offline either – I work on
the web, it’s my “home”, so to speak, and going offline to make
a point about having access to things online also seems a bit
backwards. I will, however, be basing at least a portion of my voting
decisions this year based on how the legislators from my state
act/react to SOPA/PIPA, and I’m doing something I almost never do
and sharing a political opinion in public.

I am closing the comments today – if
you have an opinion, by all means, write it up, and post it in your
online space.

For more information about these laws,
Google has a fairly straight-forward run down here, or do a search
(yes, you can still search Google), and you’ll find a plethora of
articles about the issue. 

Thanks for indulging me. *steps off soapbox*