Why you can still read this blog during the blackout

This is an ‘out of sequence’ post, to explain why my blog is still available during the SOPA/PIPA blackout. You’ll note that the blog is sporting the “STOP CENSORSHIP” ribbon because I don’t want any censors to have hips. More seriously, both bills will fail to achieve their (purported) primary aims, do not take into account a number of key technology issues and can easily be exploited to censor content, for any reason, at any time. The main thing that must be said is that these bills will not usefully stop piracy, any more than DVD regionalisation stopped dodgy copying.

However, I haven’t gone to the WordPress blackout option because it links to information on how you can influence your representatives and, while SOPA and PIPA would (if passed) affect me, I am not an American citizen, permanent resident or resident of any kind. Yes, I hope these bills die but I am not comfortable with directing people to vote or contact their representatives in a specific and certain way when I am (legitimately) not entitled to vote in their country.

I support a free and open internet, where illegal activity is dealt with by established legal precedent and the forging of technically sound, fair and suitable agreements between countries to deal with the difficult problem of international boundaries. I do not support a system where a rumour of misconduct can wipe out a site in seconds. But, note carefully, I do not support piracy. I do not support theft. I also do not support bad tech, political posturing and the false dichotomy that to be against SOPA/PIPA is to be pro-piracy.

It is up to the American people, and their elected representatives, as to what they do with this. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed.



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