Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

A Strike for Internet Freedom

We’ve been asked by some of our readers if Chelsea Green will go on strike today in solidarity with dozens of larger sites, and hundreds of smaller ones, protesting two proposed pieces of federal legislation that have the potential to greatly infringe upon the Internet and free speech.

The answer is no, we’re not blacking out the site, but we do stand with our fellow online free speech advocates and organizations in opposing the legislation and support efforts to ensure these bills never see the light of day.

Besides, today is more like holding up a protest sign in the street. A good start, but to really ensure the government doesn’t quash free speech and access to information on the Internet action must be taken.

This site has a list of the major players who are on “strike” today to protest these bills — largely because they are rightly concerned with the government given too much leeway to shut down websites allegedly selling pirated material. There is little in the bill that actually combats piracy, rather it gives large companies more tools to shut down sites they deem a threat and using the government and the courts as their sledgehammer.

The bills are known as SOPA and PIPA and they stand for the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which is in the U.S. House, and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), which is in the U.S. Senate.  ProPublica has a cool feature that shows you where your Representatives and Senators stand on the bill.

If you don’t like what you read, drop ’em a line and let ’em know. Congress reconvenes on Monday and the Senate vows to take up the legislation despite growing outcry over key provisions.

Here in Vermont, our senior senator U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, is the lead Senate sponsor of PIPA. He also chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee that has jurisdiction over the legislation.

Leahy has collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from lobbyists and organizations who have been pushing SOPA and PIPA. And, last fall the Directors Guild of America feted Leahy in New York City for his “unflagging commitment to safeguarding the content created by DGA members and others in the creative and business communities against the ravages of digital theft and counterfeiting.” Read: He did our bidding and how we’re going to throw him a party.

More than a dozen groups that promote free speech — including the American Library Association and Reporters Without Borders — are urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to tone down the proposed law.

In a May letter to Leahy, the coalition wrote that the bill “makes nearly every actor on the Internet potentially subject to enforcement orders under the bill, raising new policy questions regarding government interference with online activity and speech.”

If pissing off librarians wasn’t enough for Leahy and his ilk, they’ve since upset major Internet companies, too.

Here are a few great sites where you can learn more about the dangers lurking in SOPA and PIPA , including the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The EFF has also set up an easy way for you to contact your federal representatives and voice your opposition to these bills.

As EFF notes, today is just the start of a series of actions. Some of the bigger efforts come next week when the House and Senate return from their “recess” and take up the legislation.

Though Leahy has offered to dump some of the more controversial sections of the legislation, expect the bill to rear its ugly head again. PIPA, in fact, was simply another Internet censorship bill — the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act — gussied up and given a new name. COICA never came up for a full Senate vote, and died a natural death at the end of the last session of Congress. Let’s hope the same happens with PIPA.

Yesterday Leahy castigated the strike, calling it an act of self-censorship that misstates the intent of PIPA. He urged his colleagues to debate and approve the bill next week.

All I can say is that if this “strike” is successful in mobilizing enough people to kill this bill, perhaps we should be thinking more broadly about physical, national strikes across all sectors of the economy to protest bad government policies. You know, the policies that seem to only benefit the 1 percent and leave us 99 percenters behind.

Just a thought.


Happy Holidays from Chelsea Green Publishing!

Today we kick off our Holiday Sale — with 35% off every purchase at our online bookstore. Simply use the code CGS16 at checkout from now until the end of the year. Along with this great discount, we are offering free shipping on any order over $100*. Are there homesteaders or organic gardeners on your […] Read More

You won’t have a revolution if you don’t ask for one. So, what are you waiting for?

Get ready for the era of Big Organizing. In Rules for Revolutionaries, authors Becky Bond and Zack Exley lay out the 22 Rules the fueled the Bernie Sanders campaign and which provide a way forward for activists looking for ways to move forward post-Election Day. This model, which the authors call “Big Organizing” is the […] Read More

Author Nicolette Hahn Niman to Speak at Nobel Dialogue on the Future of Food

What does a former environmental lawyer and vegetarian turned cattle rancher have in common with Bob Dylan? They’ll both be — theoretically — in Stockholm in December during the Nobel Prize ceremonies. That’s right – Chelsea Green author Nicolette Hahn Niman will be one of several global opinion leaders and experts taking part in this […] Read More

We Got Trump-ed. Now What?

As the country braces for a Trump presidency, this post-election playbook points the way forward. “We can win — but only if we continue to develop the kinds of tactics, tools, and vision laid out in this vitally important book, perhaps the first to explore how to organize at the true scale of the crises […] Read More

“Rules for Revolutionaries” Offers New Political Playbook for Activists

A riveting behind-the-scenes look at the “rules” used by the “revolutionaries” who helped harness the volunteer power that fueled Bernie Sanders’ historic, and insurgent, presidential campaign. Authors Becky Bond and Zack Exley led the Sanders campaign’s efforts to recruit and engage volunteers at an unprecedented level, which was crucial to the Vermont senator capturing 46 […] Read More
Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com