If passed, how SOPA might affect freedom of religion.
Good news! SOPA hearings have been postponed until early next month. This is the best gift we could get for Yule; don’t waste it! See the bottom of the post for suggestions on what to do.
How the heck is a bill supposed to target internet piracy supposed to go after religion?
It’s quite simple.
SOPA works much like the DMCA - if an infringing site or a site merely linking to an infringing site is reported, then that site must be blocked, no questions asked.
Awhile back on YouTube, creationists made a concerted effort to censor atheist and pro-evolution videos by filing DMCA reports. YouTube had no choice but to take the videos down, no questions asked. Of course, none of the videos contained any infringing materials whatsoever. For example, certain of them contained footage from Kent Hovind, which was completely legal as 1. Hovind declared that his videos were non-copyrighted, and 2. it would fall under Fair Use (criticism) even if they weren’t.
Fox News also attempted to censor a video criticizing Casey Luskin’s scientific illiteracy, even though its use was clearly protected by Fair Use.
Many of these videos were reinstated after it was determined that the DMCA claims were unlawful, but not without wasting the time of the YouTube atheist community, and not before the videos had been inaccessible for some time. RationalWiki documents one specific case.
Now, let’s say there’s a pagan forum and someone decides it needs to be shut down for the greater good. If members link to copyrighted material - such as a how-to video that uses a snippet of a copyrighted song, that site could possibly be reported.
Likewise, if a person quotes paganphobic book on their website to address the claims made in it, someone might file a copyright claim on the quotes. Bye-bye site.
And sometimes, they might not even wait until they have an excuse. One person filed a DMCA claim on the voice of the person who made the video simply out of spite.
Now that we’ve been given extra time to fight this unconstitutional bill, don’t waste any time to fight it!
- Contact your representative.
- Urge your news stations and papers to cover SOPA and its potential problems.
- Blog about SOPA on Tumblr and every other blog site you have an account on.
- Put some code on your website to help spread the word.
- Up-vote SOPA-related posts on Reddit.
- Reblog this post.
- When you’ve done all the physical-plane work you can do, petition any appropriate gods you think will be interested in the cause. Hermes and Athena strike me as the type to care about this. And perhaps some kind of binding spell on SOPA and internet censorship in general would be appropriate.