These are dark times indeed

What is this blank imageless content you may ask?

It is the image of censorship; a representation of many websites that shut down and went black January last month.

The blackout occurred at midnight on Wednesday 18th through to midnight Thursday as a protest against the proposed anti-piracy legislation in the US. In this included big internet database moguls such as Wikipedia, Reddit, and Twitpic; symbolizing what will happen to content accused of copyright infringement.

This legislation is currently known as SOPA. Now, most of you would have heard of SOPA by now and that SOPA equals bad. But how many of you actually know what it is?

In a nutshell, SOPA, or “Stop Online Piracy Act” is a new legislation which gives power to both major corporations and the government to pull the plug on websites that they accuse of copyright infringement with neither a trial nor court hearing – just like that *snap*. You can read the bill in detail at this handy website because it’s worth giving it a read to know what we’re all protesting for once.

Obviously the legislation is aggressively backed by Hollywood and record labels. I mean, why wouldn’t it be? Let’s be honest, the movie and music industry have never been particularly pleased about losing their business to sites such as Limewire, Napster, Megaupload and its sister website Megavideo, which have both been shut down since.

Just last week did I try to access Megavideo (not that I stream videos against Hollywood legislations) to no avail, only to be greeted with this very official notice

Most will know what Megaupload and Megavideo is, and if not, *tut tut* you were not using the internet to its full capacity. They are file sharing sites best known for hosting one of the biggest online library of movies and TV shows appreciated by most and especially those without the luxuries of television. Although walking a fine line between enabling piracy and profiting from it, they have always been quick to the mark when taking action in response to piracy accusations by taking down any relevant files. However sadly, this will not be the case anymore as Hollywood media companies urge the FBI to seize it along with adjacent websites. Nevertheless, will this actually limit the number of internet piracy?

According to this very “official” chart, computer says no.

In retrospect, should we be pleased with Anonymous, the last bastion of digital anarchy for their hands on retaliation strategies? At the end of the day, for the ones who protest, it’s not about losing a legacy of free movies and data but about how big corporations can shut you down and condemn you to jail time without warning. It’s about a future where the internet is not a free space to roam and learn. Wikipedia stated on their “blacked out” webpage – “imagine an internet without free knowledge”, and the reality is pretty grim.


One Response to These are dark times indeed

  1. Acacia says:

    It is indeed a very grim prospect. The fear stems from what it might lead to; the likelihood being that such censorship will not be limited to the sharing of video’s but also the removal of commentary which is deemed controversial or politically incorrect by corporate and government entities. It is the start of something rather depressing… the potential stifling of liberalism and free speech. Thanks for this thought-provoking article.

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