Tumblr “Censorship” Draws Users’ Attention to SOPA

As of right now, if you visit Tumblr you won’t find the typical stream of animated gifs, blog posts, and videos – but rather a page of big gray CENSOR bars. Tumblr is drawing attention to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which is being discussed today in a hearing in the U.S. House judiciary committee. This bill along with the PROTECT IP Act represent Congress’ current attempts to curb piracy in the United States.

On its face, the legislation would provide some power to combat the problem of foreign websites that house large amounts of copyrighted material by allowing them to be “blacklisted” through ISPs. Of course, the danger is that the law could potentially be even farther reaching than that. Tumblr certainly has reason to be concerned, as does YouTube and other user-generated content sites that contain copyrighted as well as original material.  And as do the Internet companies who would have to follow potentially strict government regulations about what kind of websites and content they can support.

This video from Fight For the Future is a fairly good explanation of what many people are scared could happen.

Though various advocacy groups and websites have been covering this issue a lot in the past week especially, the move by Tumblr to force some awareness on the part of its users is a big attention-getting move. (Though do note that all you need do to get back to your regularly scheduled tumbling is to click on the link – you don’t have to take any further action.)

Edit: Mozilla and Reddit are doing it too.


15 Responses to Tumblr “Censorship” Draws Users’ Attention to SOPA

  1. *sighs* I heard Congress has pretty much been bought off and has every intention of passing this law regardless of what citizens and other large companies have to say about it. It doesn't at all matter how easy it would be to abuse this law, they'll pass it anyway. If there was even a little bit of honesty left in Congress they'd at least tack on some kind of punishment for anyone who abuses the INTENT of the law. But no, that's not going to happen. This law is for Hollywood, not for the country. :(

  2. Tumblr isn’t a neutral party in all this, they’re a corporation protecting their business model, which hinges on “reblogging” “user generated content”. While I follow many artists and people who do post original content on tumblr, there are no controls or even a culture of creating your own works there as opposed to something like say, deviantart.

    I have not read this law in detail, but neither have any of the people who are hopping onto the “OMG censorship” bandwagon. I’d remind these people that these are the same United States where in some places you can be arrested and condemned to jail time for filming police officers without their permission, just as one example pulled at random. So maybe there are some real censorship and freedom issues out there that are slightly more pressing than protecting access to day zero rips from the pirate bay

  3. I think tumblr is more worried about the countless gif's & video clips of TV shows and Movies posted to their site by users; The MPAA is a HUGE sponsor on this bill – and don't think for a second they would pull any citizen-made gif of "their" films off a site in a second if they legally could, suing everyone they could find in the process.

  4. such a shame now all the brain dead sheeple will have to start thinking for themselves again and find a life offline what a shame

    • Oh and what shall the "sheeple" do in their down time? Read a book? Oh wait…that's copyrighted material…listen to the radio? Oh wait, no, still not original. TV? Oh far from original. So what do you propose? We all just stay outside 24/7? Oh but technically, interacting with people isn't original either, considering when you are in conversation with people you are "sharing" ideas. So tumblr allows you to share gifs and pictures and what not. Again, it is down time. The internet is a way to connect with the outside world, when you are sitting at home and the world is all in their homes as well. It starts with an "online piracy act" and before you know it, it's the situation Egypt found themselves in. Total internet blockage. That means, no online banking/paying bills. No work from home jobs for the people who are disabled but still want to contribute to society. That also means no online schooling, for people who can't make it to campus or afford a university. It may seem small now, but how many times has congress decided to change it up once a bill passes? Or at least not told you the whole story when all you GOVERNMENT SUPPORTING SHEEPLE decided it was a good idea just because the all mighty congress said so? So when the internet gets shut down in the states, I'd like to see you do ANYTHING that involves being completely "original". No tv, radio, or conversations with others for you. Oh and no down time for you either. You get to stay up all the time and twiddle your thumbs. But oh, what a shame, that idea isn't original either.

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