(Are you opposed to government control of the Internet, such as the oppressive first step of HR 3261 (Stop Online Piracy Act)? Feel free to pirate, steal, borrow or copy any portion of this post and use it in your own letter to your U.S. Representative and editor of your local newspapers. Such letters are best personalized, in your own words, and politicians in particular value handwritten or personally signed letters, which they equate with active voters--but perhaps you share some of my ideals and are welcome to my words. Value and protect Internet freedom, or soon you may not be able to read this.)
Dear U.S. Rep. ________ and Editor:
I am writing to express my deep alarm at HR 3261 (Stop Online Piracy Act) and any government intrusion into the Internet use of United States citizens. It is not only a horrible precedent blithely couched in the guise of an economic security measure, it is opening the door to further government control of our speech, thoughts, and communication—indeed, the very fabric of our free society.
As someone who makes a living selling original digital content, I have no worry over people “stealing” my content or even selling it for profit. In fact, most of my books are easily available in illegal torrent streams, and I don’t give it a second thought. Digital piracy is a very negligible threat, largely exaggerated by the fear and hysteria of industries that are afraid of change. Even if the United States could police its own servers, the illegal content would still leak from cracks all over the world. The only possible outcome would be bigger government, higher taxes, and repressive control of our speech—and once the government has its prying eyes deep inside our Internet, do any of us really expect the government to turn a blind eye toward anything else it might not like?
What is the TRUE threat is the government making any move, however well-intentioned, into the public’s largest and most immediate discussion forum. The Internet is the biggest tool for free speech in our civilization’s history, and any regulatory shadow cast over it stands in direct contradiction to our First Amendment and, indeed, the foundation of the democracy we claim to espouse and defend.
I don’t lose sleep over Internet theft. But I lose a lot of sleep over the idea of Big Brother reaching into my computer and telling me what I can’t read, see, or believe. Say "No" to HR 3261 and value individual civil liberty over despotic government growth. Thank you.