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What If There Were No Internet…

Update: The battle isn’t over yet, but Congress seems to be having some indigestion with SOPA and PIPA per USA Today…

I have been in the technology industry for more years than I care to count – I remember life before the Internet…

I remember things like having to make long distance phone calls to Microsoft and describe the things that were occurring on my computer because there was no way for us to visually share information.

I remember having to send away (yes, send a letter) to Hewlett Packard or other vendors requesting drivers on floppy disks and waiting days for the driver to arrive.

I remember having to read software manuals that were poorly written and full of flaws because only a few authors and reviewers had laid eyes on them before they went to print.

I remember only being able to find solutions to technical problems via word of mouth or small user groups.

Imagine that you are sitting at your breakfast table, reading your newspaper, when suddenly and without explanation, the article you were reading simply disappeared. Or worse yet, you find that you did not receive a paper that morning (and never would again), because they had printed something that someone had found offensive.

As an American, you would immediately begin calling people to find out where your constitutional freedoms went. We believe in things like freedom of speech and freedom of the press, but we have to be willing to protect those freedoms.

Piracy in all forms is bad, no doubt about it – I firmly believe people should get paid for the fruits of their labor, whether the labor involves rebuilding a car, building a house, manufacturing a bridge, flying a plane, or producing intellectual property (something I do and am passionate about).

We, as a nation, are facing a serious issue – large corporate interests are pressing Congress and the nation at large to accept legalized censorship in a couple of broad, sweeping laws known as SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act). Content and web sites could simply vanish from the internet just because large corporations say so – instantly, without recourse. Even the President of the United States has come out against this legislation.

Several web sites all over the internet are going dark today – in essence, their content is being removed, albeit temporarily. As a sign of solidarity with the internet community, the content of this BLOG will be replaced with this article – and the links shown below. If you like a free and open internet, now is your chance. Call or write your congressman and tell him or her what the internet means to you – heck, fill out the petition (in the link below) to stop this legislation and they’ll get it.

Read about SOPA and PIPA here.

Sign the petition to stop these initiatives here.