SOPA/PIPA blackout today

We shy away from politics here at the Bugle Blog, although our editors are quite politically active. Today, we must speak out here, because too many members of the US Congress want to give control of the internet to copyright lawyers and those who stand against free speech.

This boring, little, family-friendly blog has been harassed, repeatedly, under the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998. Big copyright-holders like Viacom and FOX have issued unilateral takedown notices against our homespun videos. For example, the Bugle is forever considered suspect by YouTube due to our legally legitimate use of a snippet of TV coverage of the 2008 Olympics, simply because the IOC issued an indiscriminate legal action against tens of thousands of ordinary people.

We have also had our content — photos and text — stolen by businesses that made money from our work. (Yes, we have a hard time believing it, too.) Illegitimate use of copyrighted material is a problem for some people who earn their daily bread by creating things that are easily duplicated. Those people make some wonderful things, and we should do what we can to protect their hard work.

But there are two bills in the US Congress (SOPA and PIPA, in the House and Senate respectively) that are, as The Oatmeal puts it, “like dealing with a lion that escaped from the zoo by blasting some kittens with a flamethrower.” These bills take the most abused aspects of the DMCA and enlarge them a thousand-fold. The impact of these bills are astonishingly broad. For more information, we recommend: