No, it’s not some new children’s book. Although a big lovable elephant named Pipa who follows his favorite bar of soap on a jungle adventure sure sounds cute. Or like a prison allegory turned horribly wrong.

Actually, a prison allegory would be tame compared to what PIPA | SOPA really is. (And if PIPA | SOPA have their way, the allegory would never get air time for poking fun at a government system).

Here’s why.

The Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House are new government regulations designed to thwart online piracy. Sounds noble, right? Except that there are already numerous national and international laws on the books that accomplish this pretty well, successfully disbanding copyright infringing entities.

When you read the fine print, these two measures are actually allowing unprecedented government access into our most accessible vehicle for the freedom of speech: the internet.

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but the US Government breaks everything it touches. Heck, it can’t even turn a profit delivering mail!

My friend Christian Fahey pointed out an incredible statistic on his blog recently:

If you started a business the day Jesus was born and managed it so poorly that it lost $1,000,000.00 a day up until the present day, you would have just over 2 trillion dollars of loss (that’s 2,000,000,000,000). That is 1/7 of our national debt, which is today over 15 trillion dollars. (Thanks to Chuck Missler for the analogy.)

The bottom line is our government either outspends positive cash flow and puts public entities in debt, or it over regulates and puts private entities in debt (and out of business).

With such mismanagement, do you really trust our Congress to properly manage the internet?

Although since AL Gore did invent it, maybe they have a right to and don’t even need to vote.

Please watch this video by FightForTheFuture.org first, then consider writing your Congressional Representatives through their web form. While you’re at it, sign Google’s petition too.

If you have a differing viewpoint than mine, I’d love to read your comments. And if you share the same, or if you want to add to the dialog, you’re always welcome to comment (but you already knew that). ch:


UPDATE 01.20.11: I just received this email from Tiffiniy Cheng, spokeswoman for FightForTheFuture.org, (as did you if you signed up with them) and thought it was worth posting. Great job everyone!

Hi everyone!

A big hurrah to you!!!!! We’ve won for now — SOPA and PIPA were dropped by Congress today — the votes we’ve been scrambling to mobilize against have been cancelled.

The largest online protest in history has fundamentally changed the game.  You were heard.

On January 18th, 13 million of us took the time to tell Congress to protect free speech rights on the internet. Hundreds of millions, maybe a billion, people all around the world saw what we did on Wednesday.  See the amazing numbers here and tell everyone what you did.

This was unprecedented. Your activism may have changed the way people fight for the public interest and basic rights forever.

The MPAA (the lobby for big movie studios which created these terrible bills) was shocked and seemingly humbled.  “‘This was a whole new different game all of a sudden,’ MPAA Chairman and former Senator Chris Dodd told the New York Times. ‘[PIPA and SOPA were] considered by many to be a slam dunk.’”

“’This is altogether a new effect,’ Mr. Dodd said, comparing the online movement to the Arab Spring. He could not remember seeing ‘an effort that was moving with this degree of support change this dramatically’ in the last four decades, he added.”  

Tweet with us, shout on the internet with us, let’s celebrate: Round of applause to the 13 million people who stood up  – #PIPA and #SOPA are tabled 4 now. #13millionapplause

We’re indebted to everyone who helped in the beginning of this movement — you, and all the sites that went out on a limb to protest in November — Boing Boing and Mozilla Foundation (and thank you Tumblr, 4chan)! And the grassroots groups — Public Knowledge, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Demand Progress, CDT, and many more.

We changed the game this fall, and we’re not gonna stop.

13 million strong,

Tiffiniy, Holmes, Joshua, Phil, CJ, Donny, Douglas, Nicholas, Dean, David S. and Moore… Fight for the Future!

P.S.  China’s internet censorship system reminds us why the fight for democratic principles is so important:

In the New Yorker:  “Fittingly, perhaps, the discussion has unfolded on Weibo, the Twitter-like micro-blogging site that has a team of censors on staff to trim posts with sensitive political content. That is the arrangement that opponents of the bill have suggested would be required of American sites if they are compelled to police their users’ content for copyright violations. On Weibo, joking about SOPA’s similarities to Chinese censorship was sensitive enough that some posts on the subject were almost certainly deleted (though it can be hard to know).

After Chinese Web users got over the strangeness of hearing Americans debate the merits of screening the Web for objectionable content, they marvelled at the American response. Commentator Liu Qingyan wrote:

‘We should learn something from the way these American Internet companies protested against SOPA and PIPA. A free and democratic society depends on every one of us caring about politics and fighting for our rights. We will not achieve it by avoiding talk about politics.’”