One of the most amazing about the internet, is the ability to connect with people from all over the world. After just a few short years, I was blown away to learn the Creep Machine is visited by people from over 130 countries around the world. Quite an amazing feat by someone who at one time knew nothing about websites, and how to gain a wider audience. The power of the internet was that someone, like myself, was able to start a website and share what inspired me, in this case art. I try to keep politics away from this site, as they are often depressing to no end, and I like the idea that the Creep can be a place to enjoy art and share the creations of others. Every year some politician creates a bill that threatens the freedom of the internet, the most recent one is something I feel I needed to share.
This week the SOPA or Stop Online Piracy Act is making its way around and could very well be passed. The intention of this bill is to curb the amount of online piracy that is going on. I personally believe this specific issue would entail coming up with new ideas of how to share digital information, and even consider that many forms of entertainment are simply too expensive, and the the temptation is too high to resist sometimes. It’s only recently that may labels have begun to reduce the price of cd’s, even though the price of the technology has gone down considerably. With SOPA, any site that features copy-written material could be shut down. Now I am all for the idea of protecting the copyright of art, music, and film, however this includes sites like Youtube in which a group of youngsters uses a famous song to dance to, or an up and coming artist covers a famous song. Even closer to home, what if a big name artist or gallery decides they don’t like an art blog sharing images from a recent exhibition. There is no conclusive proof that things could go this way, but the threat is real enough that companies like Google, Microsoft, and even Wikipedia are fighting it. Wikipedia is even considering a blackout that would shut the site down for a day or so (source), and considering the site gets more than 2.7 billion views per month it’s a big message.
When recordable tapes came along the music industry cried the sky was falling down, it didn’t. It also didn’t come crashing down when recordable cd’s or the mp3 player and mp3’s as whole came around. Piracy will always be there, but it can be curbed. The more important question is if this is the right way to do it. If you think this is the wrong way to go about it, and that the way we see and view the internet is being threatened, make your voice known. Boing-Boing recently posted some more information on the bill with some ways you can help, and there is even a dedicated forum over at Reddit.com that will give you more information and steps to take (here). Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian even posted a video talking about how Reddit, a site that gets more than 30 million unique visitors per month, could never have been created with SOPA in place (here).
New ideas and solutions will bring us forward. As Albert Einstein once said “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
Photo illustration by Aurich Lawson