Aphelion Issue 232, Volume 22
September 2018
 
Editorial    
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Circle the wagons, folks! The Internet is under attack, again. Only this time, there's Big Money involved. The US Congress now has a bill under consideration that will pretty much shut down everything you know and love about the Internet. The bill's sponsors want it passed before the end of the year. PROTECT IP (S. 968)/SOPA (HR. 3261) is set up to institute censorship and website blacklists on the Internet. Cory Doctorow posted this article on on BoingBoing on November 11th: Stop SOPA, Save the Internet

Basically, Hollywood has finally thrown enough bribe money at the US government to try and get a law passed that will allow them, the recording industry, our Government, or indeed any corporation to control, or eliminate, any website that has user generated content. The Money Machine will finally be allowed to demand to be paid for anything they see as copyright infringement, on any website, anywhere. Say goodbye to your wedding videos on YouTube, or even your own web page, unless you have paid to use that favorite song playing in the background. Have some fan fiction that uses any characters that you didn't create? You'll get sued out of existence. Write a negative review? Trash Micro$oft in a comment on a Forum somewhere? Or Apple? Or Facebook? Better be prepared to pay a lawyer for the rest of your life. Don't pay the ransom the Corporations demand? Your ISP will be forced to remove your website. Any link, anywhere, that mentions anything at all that can be interpreted as copyright infringement, can and will be used against you. Any web site that has a comments section will be forced to remove it, out of fear of possible lawsuits. Why? Because the website will be the one getting sued, not the person posting the comment. Sure, I'm over-reacting. But go check out that link and see if you still think so. Cory tells it far better than I can without just quoting his article. Go check it out and then start protesting to your Congress Critters.

Just think of it... No more Internet Forums, no more fan sites, no more websites of any kind that haven't been neutered. No more freedom of speech, anywhere. Just fear of lawsuits, just censorship, nothing that doesn't conform to the law will be allowed. If this bill becomes a law, no website on the planet will be safe. Using a law passed in America, these corporations will be able to reach out across the globe. Any place that can be sued, will be sued. Or blocked from Internet access. Of course, I'm just exaggerating all this for dramatic effect, right? I'm just trying to stir up a big mess in order to generate web traffic that'll bring in some advertising money, right? Look again. Aphelion has no ads, no income of any kind. I've got no need of stirring anything up. Not unless I'm actually afraid that the side effects of this proposed law being passed will reach far further than anyone seems to think. And I believe that this law will lead to censorship of the entire Internet.

But this is all just crazy talk, right? No one would be allowed to cripple the free exchange of ideas online, right? I'm just being paranoid, right?

I hope so. I truly hope so. I'd love to be wrong on this one. But I'm afraid.

Write your congressmen and women. Call them, e-mail them. Protest this bill.