SOPA has a bigger and tougher brother to be worried about

By David Krienke

Yes, the proud crusaders for freedom have sent in enough emails to their legislators to save the internet for today. It is time to move on to the next piece of legislation that will “destroy the free flow on information as we know it”. The “Stop Online Piracy Act”, or SOPA, has been reduced to a shadow of its former self but before the smoke has even cleared there is already another to take its place.

The “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement”, or ACTA, is simply SOPA’s younger brother. ACTA a global agreement created so that multiple first world countries could adopt a single copyright protection act. ACTA has such enjoyable features as a “Three Strikes” system which will shut off a customer’s internet after too many copyright infringements and legal practices that would “encourage” the cooperation of rights-holders and your Internet Service Provider.

ACTA has already been passed by 31 signatories. It’s not too late to call up your local representative and stop this in its tracks though. We’ve already proved that simply emailing your legislator can stop a bill. We can simply do it again and when the next bill is introduced, we do it again. Indeed, all we have to do is email our legislators ad nauseam and convince them to do anything we want.

This sort of easy protesting was best summed up on Snopes “‘protest’ schemes that don’t cost the participants any inconvenience, hardship, or money remain the most popular, despite their ineffectiveness.” All it takes is a single bill to pass and all of the “hard work” that has been put in will be for naught.

All too often people complain about their government and talk about how someone should really do something about it. Somehow these people that want things done the most are actually the ones that are  the least likely to actually do something.

Here’s a mind blowing idea, actually prove that you’re against these bills. Put your money where your mouth is. Stick to your boycotts, even if you’re only one person you still have an impact on their bottom line even if it’s only .001 percent of their profits. If one person starts it maybe the next will follow.

But perhaps boycotting is not your thing. Then spend some time corresponding with your law makers discussing ways that copyright can be reformed to fit the needs of the rights owners and of the end user allowing both parties to profit from the situation in an appropriate way. Merely protesting bills without offering any solutions is what leads to gridlock.

There’s this popular idea that the government only looks out for people who give them money, when really they the intent of government is to keep things stable and that often directly involves making sure there is a strong middle class. However these officials and lawmakers are fed very convincing statistics that show a slanted view of the situation. But bills like SOPA and ACTA would never even be proposed in the first place if there was any belief that they would hurt more than they would help. The greatest of wrongs are found beneath a layer of the best intentions.

Citizens are accountable for the political process just as much as the Senators. The United States is a democracy, you have a vote you have a voice and you have a say. Use your rights to your advantage that is what they are there for. Do not be afraid of your government, because ultimately a government is there to protect the interests of its people, and citizens are actually considered people.