Mike Mohan, publisher in Native Condition. Discussion »
Not a Matter for Legislation
Native Americans are more connected than the US national average in the use of the Internet and email. This according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, Spring 2008. So today's coordinated Internet-wide protest taking place against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and a companion bill, PIPA proposed in Congress is about American Indians.
Across the Internet websites like Wikipedia and Google are draping black graphics on their home pages to bring awareness to the shortcoming of yet another attempt to combat the very real problem of online piracy among, for example, large motion picture companies. Across Indian country and the globe, the openness of the Internet is increasingly central to innovation in business, government, and society and it must be protected.
Certainly the growth in Native-owned businesses is one of several reasons for the tremendous growth in the buying power of American Indian families. This growth is projected to reach $90.4 billion in 2015, which equates to a 34 percent increase over today's $67.7 billion dollars, per Selig Center of Economic Growth.
Supporters claim that SOPA targets "rogue" foreign websites that encourage online infringement. However, the bill's vague language would create in individuals and corporations, unprecedented power to silence speech online.
The bills target nearly any site that hosts user-generated content, or even a site that just has a search function, by failing to provide protections for legal speech. Without due process, your means to collect payment for your business services or products online could be taken away.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation points out that in spite of opposition from a diverse coalition including civil liberties and human rights organizations, tech industry leaders, security experts, legal scholars, bipartisan legislators, and others, the bill is moving quickly through Congress. All fueled by massive infusions of cash from big content companies.
The Native News Network respects and encourages all parties, including both content creators and Internet platform providers working together to adopt voluntary measures and best practices to reduce and eliminate online piracy, wherever it may be.
Please join the Native News Network in opposing these bills by contacting your tribal leaders, and members of the US Congress. Tell them:
This is not a matter for legislation.
posted January 18, 2011 1:30 pm est
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