Worried About SOPAPosted 12:54
Sun 18 December
I'm pretty freaked out about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that may get passed in the coming weeks. It's basically an internet censorship bill that is disguised as an anti piracy bill. The MPAA amongst other major corporations are working really hard to get it passed into law. If it does get passed there's a good chance that all of my websites will be blocked by your ISPs and search engines. Since I do a lot of parodies in my comics and art, I could receive and infringement claim. Under current laws the copyright holder can send me a cease and desist letter and if I don't comply they can take me to court where a judge would determine weather or not what I was doing would be considered parody. With SOPA they send out their letters and search engines would have to remove my websites and all linking ones from their search results, ISPs would block my websites, and all my advertisers could no longer be allowed to advertise on my websites. All of this would occur before I even get a day in court. And even if I did try to fight it I wouldn't have enough money to fight the corporations massive funding. Oh yeah, and if a judge determines that it's infringement it's a felony. So, hello jail time.
You might be thinking that I'm exaggerating, that the only sites these large companies would go after would be torrent sites where people are illegally sharing movies and music but trust me, these corporations are way over protective of their intellectual properties and will exploit the law in anyway that they can to smash competition. I've had a little experience with it myself. Months ago I uploaded my Werewolf vs. Vampire illustration to Zazzle.com and created a mouse pad to sell. The illustration features a cartoon werewolf and vampire of my own creation. In the description for the product, I referenced a number of popular vampire pieces of fiction. I said something to the effect of, "If you're a fan of True Blood, Twilight or the Vampire Diaries then you'll like this mouse pad." Within a day Zazzle received an infringement claim from the makers of Twilight and removed my entire product from their website. All that just because I made reference to the Twilight films. Under SOPA it would be much worse. Zazzle probably wouldn't even survive. They would have to censor certain key words and imagery for fear of having their website blocked which would probably drive away sellers and consumers as a result.
The internet has allowed me to live in a rural area and make money doing my art. Hopefully someday I'll make my entire living with it. If it goes away that all ends and I'm back to square one. And it's not just me. There are countless other artists and innovators that stand to suffer from this. So please I encourage everyone to do what you can to educate yourself and raise awareness and stop SOPA before it has a chance to stop our freedom of speech. Check out this website for ways to do so: http://americancensorship.org/