The fight against Internet censorship continues as Mozilla—the open-source foundation behind popular web-browser Firefox—introduced a campaign yesterday to stop the Protect IP Act. This bill is surging through the Senate and, like its House of Representatives sibling SOPA, would broaden the definition of copyright infringement to allegedly dangerous levels.
Mozilla, a non-profit organization, is asking Internet users to take action against impending threat of censorship by placing a call to their senators declaring opposition to the potentially harmful pieces of legislation. If passed, either bill would place unnecessary burden on websites like YouTube and Twitter, making them responsible for any infringing content a user posts. The logic of this approach is archaic and comes from the mind of a Congress that clearly has no clue how the Internet or file sharing works. As far as stopping criminal activity goes, such clumsy and sweeping methods have never proven successful throughout history. When the innocent become carelessly lumped in with the guilty, government becomes unable, even unwilling, to distinguish between the two.
Efforts to extinguish each bill have been gaining force thanks to the likes of Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), who placed a hold on the Senate version of the bill six months ago. Tech-giants such as Google, Facebook and, of course, Mozilla have banded together to raise awareness surrounding the legislation, and in an official editorial, so has The New York Times. They each have expressed fear that not only would PIPA and SOPA be harmful to users, but that they would cripple tech companies that rely on user generated content.
It seems the two bills are losing more steam every day, although Mozilla claims, “Majority Leader Harry Reid is thinking about moving PIPA [through the Senate] as soon as next week.” And so their campaign to educate the Congress through constituent phone calls couldn’t come at a better time. Defending the Internet is imperative to both societal and economic growth, and any effort to constrict that growth should not be accepted without caution.
Mozilla has pledged to fight Internet censorship, and with a simple phone call, you can do the same. Just one request if you do call your Senator or Representative; be kind, you’re probably talking to an unpaid intern.
For a thorough overview of both bills, refer to this blog post. Join Mozilla’s campaign to call your Senator here.