The internet has been abuzz recently with comments about the ‘Stop Online Piracy Act’ (SOPA) currently under debate in the US House of Representatives, and its counterpart the ‘Protect IP Act’ (PIPA) in the Senate. Organizations such as the EFF and the Library Copyright Alliance have raised concerns that the bills – which are ostensibly aimed at curbing ‘rogue’ foreign sites – have significant implications for the web internationally, and will work to curb free speech and online creativity.
Here at the OTW, we’ve been following developments since the bill was first mooted. SOPA has particular implications for sites which include user-generated content because of the broad language in the bill. This means that it has the potential to negatively affect many popular fansites – including the Archive of Our Own and Fanlore – if it is implemented in its current form.
Following protests from many groups, the Obama administration issued a statement which was seen by the New York Times as a significant blow to the proposed legislation. Nevertheless, the EFF argues that it still poses a significant threat.
In order to make sure that members of the US Senate and House of Representatives understand the problematic nature of the proposed legislation, many sites around the internet are taking part in an ‘internet strike‘. The OTW will be joining this day of action with a banner on the Archive of Our Own and a blackout on our main website, transformativeworks.org. If you are a US citizen, we urge you to contact your representatives and senators to let them know how you feel about these bills.