Today my blog's logo is altered to join American Censorship Day. I've done the same on my Tumblr.
This is not a celebration of Censorship. Quite the contrary.
This day of protest is against a new bill called 'SOPA' for which hearings will be held in Congress today. SOPA could pass this month, creating the first ever United States Goverment website censorship system.
This bill and others like it would cripple the innovation and job creation represented by the internet and pose a threat to freedom of speech.
If you want to learn more, you can check out Fred Wilson's blog post on American Censorship Day which contains a short video clip and/or go directly to the site explaining this protest.
Some leading internet and technology companies wrote a letter to Congress that I found helpful in summing up some of the key concerns about this bill.
The issues addressed by SOPA, such as piracy and copyright infringement, are valid. However, big media and entertainment companies have sponsored this bill with no input from the technology companies most impacted. If this bill becomes law, corporations would be given the power to censor while bypassing due legal process.
There are ways to address these concerns in collaboration with the technology industry (such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act) that allow this industry to continue to flourish and to boost our economy. Ways that do not threaten basic American values.
Update: I decided to share the video clip mentioned above right here:
PROTECT IP Act Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.