SOPA and PIPA would essentially take the perilous place in which we operate and obliterate that safety net. If we could get shut down every time we post a Beyonce video or a segment of a movie or show that is outside of the promotional material, then this site isn’t worth running. Especially since these arguments wouldn’t be in public – the way the bill is written means that they would shut us down first, and force us to prove why we were not infringing before we could come back up. Allegedly, SOPA and PIPA would mostly target foreign websites – but we all know how legislation and laws tend to creep and mutate depending on who is doing the interpretation.
We aren’t saying intellectual property is a bad thing – for African Americans in particular, it is important to understand our rights to the work we create, for both historical and financial reasons. However, the laws governing intellectual property have not kept pace with the way we live and passing vague new laws is not going to solve this problem.
So do us a favor – write your congressperson. (And someone write for me – I live in DC now, so I don’t have anyone to appeal to with voting power.) If you’re outside of the US, petition the State Department. We have until January 24th to formerly protest, and while most of the co-signers of the bill are backpedaling, it doesn’t mean the bill is dead.
—Latoya Peterson, “Why Racialicious Went On SOPA Strike,” 1/19/12