Why I Oppose PIPA and SOPA

I realize at this point I’m by and large preaching to the choir here. Wikipedia and Google are much more likely to be people who have not yet spoken out against these two bills designed to stem internet piracy but that are likely to have wider ranging, dangerous consequences. If you’d like more information, many sites are providing it today, but I really like this point by point breakdown with examples.

However, I do want to speak briefly about why I think it’s important. You see, the house I grew up in was paid for by my dad writing books. If he were still around and writing, he’d probably be concerned about piracy in the book biz too, as well as ebook trends and everything else. It’s entirely possible that piracy could be affecting my livelihood if the last 10 years had gone differently.

In the world we do live in, my day job involves posting on the internet, and obviously that’s what this website is. The house I live in now is financed by the internet. If someone were to tell me suddenly: you can’t use the internet, I’d be in trouble. 

Sure, that’s not what these bills are actually saying. But as someone who runs a small business with Critical Hits, I am afraid of what could happen to it. Whether it be a Cease & Desist, or a DMCA take-down notice, or malicious hackers (the latter has already happened a few times), there’s any number of forces that could cause the site to shutdown without notice. SOPA and PIPA both add an extra nasty one to this list, placing an additional burden on me and my staff, and giving them official power to revoke the site without any kind of due process. The hosting was registered by a Canadian after all- we might not qualify as a domestic site under the provisions of these bills.

The DMCA, while it has some positives, has also been shown to be easily abused, with little notice and less proof being given before, poof, gone from the internet. SOPA/PIPA take this kind of “guilty until proven innocent” stance, let alone the cost it would take a small operation like this to actually mount some kind of legal defense.

SOPA, PIPA, and the DMCA before them demonstrate one important axiom: technology changes faster than the law. The people in congress have shown by and large that they are not up to date on the latest technologies and the implications of what they are suggesting. You can tell this is happening when the people who are supporting the bill don’t realize that they are actually in violation. Piracy is a complex issue with many viewpoints that has yet to fully reach the people making our laws. Until that happens, they as lawmakers and we as citizens need to carefully consider what kind of changes they plan on making to restrict the internet. SOPA and PIPA are ill-considered, and need to be stopped.

So if you agree with me (or heck, even if you don’t) now is the time to let your representatives in congress know, like I have. We’re small fish compared to Wikipedia and Google (almost every site on the internet is compared to those two), but that’s what makes it even more important that we speak out. We don’t have the money for lobbyists, we just have our voice, and if these bills pass, we might not have that either.

If you’d like to discuss the issue with me, my contact information is in the byline below.

About Dave

Dave "The Game" Chalker is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Critical Hits. Since 2005, he has been bringing readers game news and advice, as well as editing nearly everything published here. He is the designer of the Origins Award-winning Get Bit!, a freelance designer and developer, son of a science fiction author, and a Master of Arts. He lives in MD with e, their three dogs, and two cats.