Freedom of the Seas: NSNC Opposes Online Piracy Bills

January 18 – Internet Blackout Day – Web users protest SOPA & PIPA – Cite censorship and online freedom of expression concerns

Symbolic
Some websites are blacked out to protest proposed legislation

For the day today, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012, a wide variety of associations, websites, prominent individuals, and online corporations and Internet nonprofits have either shut down or loudly proclaimed their opposition to anti-piracy legislation now in both houses of the U.S. Congress.

They see the legislation as drawn so broadly that it would limit the free flow of information among Americans and worldwide. And, as the United States is the foremost promoter and defender of a free press (literally and including a century of recorded visual and audio communication and in recent decades electronic publishing), these entities see the bills as reflecting badly on the United States.

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists as a journalism organization of diverse commentators has no official stance on the House bill “Stop Online Piracy Act,” H.R. 3261, or SOPA, and the Senate version “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act,” S.968 whose acronym is PROTECT IP Act, whose further acronym is PIPA.

Update: 10:30 a.m. Central, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012: The board of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, a journalism organization of diverse commentators, has voted to oppose the House bill “Stop Online Piracy Act,” H.R. 3261, or SOPA, and the Senate version “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act,” S.968 whose acronym is PROTECT IP Act, whose further acronym is PIPA.

Thirteen of the 14 members of the NSNC board passed the following motion in an email discussion, with no nays:

The board of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, in considering both universal Freedom of the Press and the importance of protecting intellectual property by copyright and other legislation, believe that legislation now before the U.S. Congress — in the House as the “Stop Online Piracy Act,” H.R. 3261, and in the Senate as “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act,” S.968 — unreasonably restricts the First Amendment. The NSNC along with similar organizations, seeks the defeat or withdrawal of this legislation, as now written.”

NSNC Web Editor Sheila Moss, being responsible for its website columnists.com, and NSNC President Ben Pollock, proponents of the free flow of information, believe that media companies will be able to monetize quite profitably in this new era and don’t need broad, vague government regulation, which on principle many corporations otherwise oppose. The NSNC advocates for free press issues. The home page of columnists.com today replaced its slideshow of top articles with a black box in solidarity with the actions of similar nonprofit and for-profit websites.

What Sheila and I ask is for readers to research the proposed legislation and arguments. Here’s some places to start:

Ben Pollock, NSNC president
Sheila Moss, NSNC web editor

Here’s a clever 4:20 video that explains the proposed bills. Sorry, it is rather slow-loading.

 

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo

Piracy recalls the ancient tradition now internationally accepted Freedom of the Seas. On land it becomes the concept of the commons.

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