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A Day of No Takei
Why I Won't Post To Facebook on Wednesday, and What All Netizens Should Know and Fear About SOPA and Net Censorship

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For 24 hours that began at midnight tonight, I will join Wikipedia and sites like Reddit in protest over pending legislation in Congress. 

The bill is known as SOPA–the “Stop Online Piracy Act–backed by Hollywood and the music industry, but opposed by most of Silicon Valley.  SOPA is aimed ostensibly at protecting copyrighted material, but as drafted threatens to choke off the Internet in much the way China does now–by killing the source of oxygen.

In its worst proposed form, SOPA would require U.S. search engines, advertising networks and other providers to withhold their services to certain “flagged” sites, so that users couldn’t find them and payment processors couldn’t fund them.  That’s right:  Someone ELSE would get to decide what YOU can and cannot see.  This is a flagrant violation of free speech and free association rights, and it must not be allowed to move forward.

Pushback from companies such as Google and Facebook and ordinary citizens has stalled SOPA, with its backers promising to revise the bill’s more controversial aspects.  But you know how these things go.  With big industry behind the bill, it will take a massive public outcry to kill it.  I can tell you this:  If SOPA is passed in its original form, or even some of the suggested “compromises,” sites like YouTube would go dark immediately.  Indeed, this very FB community we have built, and which I hope you enjoy daily, could be shut down by a single complaint of copyright infringement that “flags” it. 

There are already laws in place to deal with copyright infringement within the U.S., but so far no effective law to deal with overseas sites.  The answer, however, is not to impose censorship at home. 

So that is why I’m going dark, for a day.  Please share this message with your online friends, and help us stop unAmerican censorship of the net.  If you’d like to send your senator a message, sign the on-line petition through the link on the left of this blog post.  

I’ll see you all Thursday at midnight.  Live long and FREELY,

–GHT

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