Happy Cyber Monday everyone! Everyone, that is, except for the owners of the 132 websites taken down by the government today. You all are probably pretty bummed. The websites were seized by a joint effort between the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and officials from several European countries in an attempt to crack down on counterfeit goods being sold online. This is exactly the sort of thing House Representative Zoe Lofgren was asking for help about on Reddit last week.
the internet is serious businessZoe Lofgren made sure that her name echoed loudly through the hallowed halls of the internet (did you know we have halls? Yeah, like tons of halls. Acres. With pillars and junk.) a year ago during the SOPA/PIPA debates in congress, by loudly opposing it, and even engaging in a Reddit AMA, hoping to drum up some attention to the pretty alarming powers the bill gave to rights holders and the pretty alarming requirements it made of internet service providers. While I won't say she brought the issue to Reddit's attention in the first place, her engagement with a large and influential internet community became part of a temporary internet revolution that culminated in Wikipedia, Tumblr, Reddit, Google, and a host of other websites going completely dark or otherwise completely devoting a day to raising awareness of the bill. She has returned to Reddit recently,
at the turn of the tideto perform a rather interesting experiment:
In a move that will either prove to be brilliant or disastrous, House Representative Zoe Lofgren of California intends to use Reddit to take suggestions on legislation dealing with websites accused of copyright infringement. We think Reddit would be a great way for citizens to interact with their representatives, but the obvious potential for trolling is also worth considering. Internet, please behave.
So if you've been holding your breath, hoping that the amendment process might make SOPA a little less horrifying, you should probably stop because you're going to suffocate. About two dozen amendments were slogged through yesterday during a grueling 11.5 hour session, with most of the important SOPA-limiting ones being thrown in the trash. Some amendments are passing, though. Mostly ones that make SOPA even more of a terrifying monster, like an amendment that passed only a few hours ago granting ISPs the same protection whether they block a specific piece of infringing content or just go the lazy route and nuke the whole site regardless of what a court order may specify. Which one do you think they're going to do more often?