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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy


By Phil Plait

By the time you read this, you have already heard or discovered that Mozilla, reddit, Wikipedia, and many others sites are going dark today to raise awareness about Congress' highly regressive internet blocking legislation. The House's version, SOPA, is making headlines, but the Senate version, PIPA, is pretty much the same.

I am not blacked out for two reasons. Since I am hosted on Discover's site, I cannot take the whole thing down, and it would not be appropriate for me to ask. But also, simply blacking out raises awareness but doesn't give information. I'm all about making sure people get good info, so below is a list of links where you'll find why so many people hate this legislation so much.

- Google (!)

- reddit (they also have this page with many links to help you take action)

- Adam Savage at Popular Mechanics

- Forbes (though it's clearly not correct to say SOPA is dead, and I no longer trust Obama will do as he says after signing the NDAA)

- Mashable

- Wil Wheaton

And I'll note: I have a friend in the film industry whom I like and respect very much. She and I talked about this; she had a film pirated so much she made no money on it, and couldn't pursue the pirates because they were overseas. She is right that we need a better way to find and prosecute (or at least stop) that sort of thing, and as far as I can tell SOPA would in fact stop what happened to her. Unfortunately, it does far, far more. I do not and cannot trust this government -- or any that may follow -- to use this kind of power judiciously. The links above will show you why.

I am against these bills, and I urge you to contact your Congresscritters. I already know my representative, Jared Polis, is against PIPA, since he's been fighting it nonstop. Find out what yours thinks, and act appropriately.

[Update: I had inadvertently switched which bill went with which part of Congress, and it's now fixed. My apologies.]

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