Can you read that? Chances are, you can't. You didn't make it, and it's been censored. I made it. I used my bought and paid for copy of Adobe Photoshop CS 5 Master Collection. Chances are also pretty high that it will be copied, saved, linked-to, and re-linked to again and again. It will be changed, the size will be messed with, and people will most likely say they made it. I didn't even bother to slap my copyright watermark on it.
If I post it to Twitter tomorrow, it could be censored. If Bills like ACTA, Bill-C11 (formerly Bill-C32), SOPA, PIPA, or any other Internet Censorship laws pass, I could be fined or placed in jail. That doesn't sound fun, since I made it, and it's my right to bellyache and complain about whatever the hell I want.
That's just it, though. It's MY choice. This is the internet. Shit gets stolen; so what? I take it as a compliment when people like what I do enough to share it. I don't really go for the changes, but like I said, this is the internet, and shit happens. I always ask that people at least let me know they're taking something because asking is a simple courtesy. I'm not going to police my work after they take it because I have a life and better things to do.
If you don't want people to get to anything that you do, don't make your work public. I am guilty of it, you are guilty of it. I like memes, and so do you. That is a prime example of what they're calling piracy. It's not just about grabbing a torrented copy of a movie or CD, people -- it's so much bigger than that.
I know we (the internet lovers) had a huge "win" when we all got together and shut our sites down for a day. Wikipedia had probably the biggest impact, leading people to be forever lost because they don't remember a time when we didn't have ready access to the information we wanted/needed. Since I used to use my handy-dandy encyclopedia to find information, I still tend to stick to it. But there's something comforting about having the ease of Google Search right at my fingertips. Many of the web pages that we visit are powered by Wiki, and we rarely realize just how crippling it's loss would be.
SOPA and PIPA may be frozen, but ACTA is like SOPA and PIPA on steroids, and it my friends, is FAR from frozen. Bill-C11? It even makes ripping your bought CDs to your iTunes library and DVR-ing your favourite TV shows illegal. Have you unlocked your phone? Rooted it? Changed the OS? That's illegal under Bill-C11 as well.
Think I'm crazy? Check the links at the end of this article to find out for yourself. I'm not crazy, this is our future. Taking a small stand against one bill and thinking we've won the war is ridiculous. We have yet to win anything but one small smokescreen of a battle. SOPA and PIPA were created to annoy us, while we remained in the dark about other bills, whether American or not, that are far worse and could royally fuck our shit up. Sharing isn't caring to these bills -- it's a federal offense that could land you in jail for sharing a photo you found via Google Images.
And, just to let you know just how far the laws can carry themselves, some of the bills I'm talking about aren't American. Bill-C11 is Canada's new love-child. We as Americans can't do anything but spread the word, but most of us have never even heard of it. Canada helped us out with SOPA and PIPA, so don't forget to help them. I'm appreciative of their efforts.
You see, they realize, unlike most people, that whatever laws are passed here (or anywhere else) are going to affect us all. It's the WORLD-WIDE web, people. If ACTA passes, it's going to affect us; If the Canadians lose their battle against Bill-C11, we're just as screwed. These bills our governments are trying to hide behind fancy words and 'round-about press releases, if passed, will open the floodgates. One passes, they could ALL pass.
And then the internet would look like a pissed-off dude ripped the shit out of a book. There won't be any Wiki sites, there won't be a Twitter and Facebook worth using, and Google will take a huge dive. Even searching for articles to cite here in my own blog lead me to censorship. Google was forced to take articles off the search queue. It's complete bullshit, and we shouldn't be content to let other people decide what we can and cannot share.
Not all sharing is bad, government, and your bills aren't going to help. Things are just going to get worse.
Oh, and in case you haven't heard, Twitter is now able to censor your tweets on a case-to-case basis.
I'm not quite fond of this idea, and you shouldn't be, either. They're your thoughts, and if you want to let them be known, it should be your decision how they're conveyed.
This is basically a war on freedom of expression; which side are you on?
More on Bill-C11
ACTA(A Wiki site.. better read quick!)
Forbes Speaks: Twitter Censorship and Internet Censorship Laws