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Stop Censorship, Stop SOPA

In my view, the US is becoming a more authoritarian, less free society. I see this trend as quite alarming and I hope that Americans wake up before they are stripped of all their civil liberties. I fully support the action below against SOPA and have added this censorship to my blog for today and tomorrow as a reminders of what SOPA effectively means.

Enemies of freedom will always tell you that there is some trade-off between freedom and civil liberties to get you to give up your freedom. This is a false dichotomy and always will be.

"Introducing CloudFlare’s Stop Censorship App" via CloudFlare’s blog:

CloudFlare, as a service, illustrates the power of using DNS to make the Internet better. Unfortunately, some current legislation up for consideration in the United States illustrates the power of using DNS to make the Internet worse. SOPA and PIPA aim to address the challenge of policing copyright online by monkeying with the underlying infrastructure of the Internet.

Spearheaded by Ben Huh and others, many sites are planning on "blacking out" their pages on Wednesday, January 18 to raise awareness about the dangers of laws like SOPA and PIPA. Several CloudFlare users wrote to us asking if there was a way we could help them participate in such a protest. The problem is that blacking out your site entirely can have some negative results:

  1. Taking a site offline does nothing to help educate people who are not already aware of the risk about the problems of SOPA and PIPA; and
  2. Removing your site from the Internet, even if for only one day, can have a significant impact on your search ranking and crawl rates.

We wanted to provide a way for people who wanted to raise awareness about SOPA and PIPA to do so effectively and without hurting themselves in the process.

What’s great about the CloudFlare Anti-Censorship App is that it will work without you having to modify any of the code on your site. If you own your own domain, you can sign up for CloudFlare. And, if you sign up for CloudFlare, you can participate in the blackout with one click. This means that if you’re on Tumblr, TypePad, WordPress, Posterous, or any other platform, so long as you have your own domain you can use the app.

The app is available here beginning today. If you want to participate in the blackout, you should turn it on by Wednesday, January 18. We will continue to make the app available for the next 30 days or until the threat from laws like SOPA and PIPA has passed.

Also see: Wikipedia Going Dark to Protest SOPA from Mashable

About 

Edward Harrison is the founder of Credit Writedowns and a former career diplomat, investment banker and technology executive with over twenty years of business experience. He is also a regular economic and financial commentator on BBC World News, CNBC Television, Business News Network, CBC, Fox Television and RT Television. He speaks six languages and reads another five, skills he uses to provide a more global perspective. Edward holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College. Edward also writes a premium financial newsletter. Sign up here for a free trial.

5 Comments

    • Thanks Dave. That was a thoughtful piece. I’ll put it in the links.

    • Anonymous says:

      There have been studies that show that in the West that music pirates are bigger buyers of legitimate music than those that do not pirate. Also in Africa and I think Venezuela or Columbia they produce and distribute local music so cheaply that pirates do not bother any more. The problem for the music business is that their business model is not working and they are failing to comprehend that. They fail to realise that these measures will harm them. The problem for many is pricing, if the rewards for piracy are so good then they will do it. Friends have told me about box sets in the big Oxford Street stores gathering dust, because they want £100 for a fifties/sixties TV series. That item has been in the store for more than three years and that dust is getting thicker. The world is changing and until they realise that they will fail to see the new openings that occur. 

  1. Anonymous says:

    SOPA or PIPA are just the tip of the iceberg. There is an international IP agreement that is just as draconian and is never mentioned by any government, yet it seeks to do pretty much the same as SOPA. Turning copyright infringement from a civil matter into a criminal matter affects the innocent taxpayer when the industries themselves should be paying for this not tax payers.

  2. Rania says:

    If these bills are, in fact, enacted, users who stream copyrighted content 10 times in 6 months may face up to five years in prison. Ridiculous
    Read & Decide: Are you for or against SOPA/PIPA? http://bit.ly/w0E1ar