The future of the Seattle tech community (and the internet as a whole) is in jeopardy. Congress is rushing to pass both the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), H.R. 3261 and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) S.968, which will have drastic and unintended repercussions on law abiding U.S. web businesses.
Zac Cohn is helping to organize a number of gatherings to take collective action and let the state legislation know what you think. Their goal: “to talk to people on the streets, educate them about the dangers of SOPA/PIPA, and then convince them to take out their cell phones and call their Senators and Representatives right there, on the sidewalk.”
The Internet and information technologies have created a renaissance in startup innovation in Seattle. Thousands of Seattleites have been inspired to become entrepreneurs creating thousands and thousands of new jobs and offering professionals in many of Seattle’s traditional industries the opportunity to start new careers participating in the 21st century global economy.
However, Congress is in the process of rushing through legislation which will not only severely damage the Internet as a marketplace and platform for entrepreneurship and open innovation, but will also seriously impact the ability of our Seattle tech community to continue to generate jobs, grow and flourish. Within the next two weeks, the US Senate is planning to bring the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) S.968 to the floor for a series of votes to ensure its passage.
This legislation would give the government and corporations the ability to censor the net in the name of protecting creativity simply by convincing a judge that a site is “dedicated” to copyright infringement. PIPA would give the government and corporations the ability to shut down any site connected to an accused copyright infringer. Its companion legislation in the House, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), H.R. 3261, contains many similar problems, as well as threatening ordinary users with jail for streaming any copyrighted work – even just video of themselves singing a pop song.
If you’re still in the dark on SOPA, this is an excellent explainer video from Up With Chris Hayes on MSNBC that will very quickly bring you up to speed
More importantly, the legislation amounts to a wholesale re-engineering of the open web in a way that would allow the US government to prosecute Internet users without due process, which in turn would discourage innovation, limit investment, and hurt the our economic future.
For more info and to get involved, go to SeattleAgainstSOPA.com.