Today, a large number of sites (most notably Wikipedia) are blacking out to protest legislation being considered in the U.S. Congress that would have a chilling effect on the Internet's ability to exist.

At first, I was ambivalent, I admit. This was before I understood what the Stop Online Piracy Act (and the Protect IP Act) would actually do, when I was still thinking about the (very real) problem of piracy online. As an anime fan, I'm well aware of the extent of piracy in that community, to the point that piracy has transcended "unpleasant but necessary" to become standard practice. And I've written before about the ways in which that might change and the ways in which it should.

SOPA is not one of those solutions, to anime piracy or to anything else. What it is, is a free pass to major corporations and to the Attorney General's office to demand that all websites censor anything that could infringe on copyright. (There's a more detailed and probably more accurate primer here.) What's more, entire websites can be targeted for blacklisting. Under the terms of this legislation, either of the two videos I posted early on could get my entire blog taken down.

In short, the battle against piracy is going to be a long and complicated one. Pulling out a legal hammer and smashing everything flat will not only cause excessive collateral damage, but will also fail to achieve the stated goals. For that reason, I oppose the proposed legislation in Congress, both SOPA and PIPA. And while I am not going to black out this blog (it's not as if anyone would even notice, given how often I produce content) I stand with those sites that have, and I encourage everyone to stand up and make your voices heard.

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