There comes a time when you have to take a stand.
For twenty four hours, starting at midnight tonight, the OB Rag will shut down as part of a growing protest against Congressional schemes to place harsh and unnecessary restrictions on the flow of information on the internet. We’ve been reporting on this for a while now, warning that this proposed legislation sponsored by old media advocacy groups that will have a severely chilling effect on the freedom of expression on the internet.
Some in the mass media are reporting that these bills are already dead in the water. We wish that were true. President Obama did come out this weekend and said that the White House could not support key provisions in these acts. However, the U.S. Senate version is proceeding to a vote next Tuesday, January 24th. Democrat Harry Reid, long an errand boy for corporate interests is leading the way. And if his bill doesn’t make it, the folks over on the House side are marking up a “censorship lite” version for consideration later on. Here’s the press release from the House Judiciary Committee:
Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today said that he expects the Committee to continue its markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act in February.
Chairman Smith: “To enact legislation that protects consumers, businesses and jobs from foreign thieves who steal America‘s intellectual property, we will continue to bring together industry representatives and Members to find ways to combat online piracy.
“Due to the Republican and Democratic retreats taking place over the next two weeks, markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act is expected to resume in February.
You need look no further than Forbes magazine to understand that these proposals are not just a one time effort by a few luddite legislators:
Just like piracy itself, this debate isn’t over. Expect more bills to move forward, although the wording in future legislation is expected to be more narrowly focused in an attempt to appease the current administration. But given the current economic climate and the upcoming Presidential election, there could be a different administration entering The White House soon, changing the landscape for these types of bills.
So we’re joining with Wikipedia, Reddit, Boing Boing, WordPress and other progressive minded outlets in taking the day off. Other sites like Google will be up, but will feature links that allow you to let Washington know how you feel. We hope that you’ll take a few moments out of your day to join in this cause.
In fact, other than sending your Congresscritter an email, Wednesday might be a good day to take the day off from the internet. Just go to the beach. Or visit a public library. Or….