Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.

Going dark in support of a free internet

Update: The web censorship bills have been shelved for now, but as Marco Ament writes, they will no doubt return in this or some other form — unless there is an aggressive push for campaign finance reform in the US. How us non-Americans can push for respect for the autonomy of our own laws, however, is another matter…

Yesterday, this site went dark as part of a worldwide protest at the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP Act which, if passed by the United States Congress, would give the US government and the entertainment industry extraordinary powers to control what is supposed to be a neutral space, effectively censoring the internet for everyone in the world. That’s right: everyone in the world.

To put it simply, this is bad legislation being pushed hard by corporate interests for their own benefit alone, and written so broadly that it sets us all down a path we don’t want to be travelling by.

I care about art, about creativity, about innovation — and about all these things being in the hands of artists, creators and innovators, not mishandled or stifled by corporations whose first responsibility is to make profit for shareholders.

Moreover, as someone who is not American, living in a country that is not the United States, the prospect and the precedent of another country passing laws that will have far-reaching consequences for me and the rest of the world — regardless of the laws governing my country and others’ countries — gives me the chills.

(Especially when they’re backronyms. I mean, really? When lawmakers are starting from the sexy buzzword then working backwards, you know things are messed up.)

If you haven’t yet heard about these proposed laws and their impact, or think that they don’t apply to you, then you’ve got some reading to do. You could do worse than start here.

See also:

A previous version of this entry was published on Tue 17 Jan 2012.