The Erosion of Freedom since 9/11: Patriot Act, NDAA, and SOPA / PIPA

SOPA/PIPA is not about loosing your right to post pet trick videos with Radiohead playing in the background. It’s about educational fair use copyright laws, without which effective political speech will be impossible.

With the Patriot Act we lost our 4th amendment rights. The government can examine our papers, email, computers, internet activity, and cell phone activity without a warrant and, in many cases, without our knowledge.

With the NDAA we lost our 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th amendment rights of due process. Any one can potentially be arrested and held without trial indefinitely. 

With SOPA / PIPA, our 1st amendment rights will be severely limited. If, after the Patriot Act and the NDAA, there are still people unafraid to speak out against corrupt activity in high places, they may be  prevented from sharing evidence of that corruption if SOPA/PIPA goes through. On the surface these bills seem to be focused on the unfair and/or illegal sharing of movies and music.  But they can also prevent the sharing of any portion or any content. The current educational and non-profit “fair use” copyright laws allow anyone to use a set portion of published material (owned by someone else) to communicate anything that may be deemed educational and/or is not intended for commercial use. That is, quoting part of a video is okay; selling a video is not okay. If SOPA/PIPA goes through, we may not be allowed to show evidence (video tapes, photos, research, reports and eyewitness testimony) of government or corporate corruption if that evidence is legally owned by someone else. Whether you agree with accusations made against people in or closely tied to the government, we all must agree that US citizens should have the right to present evidence based upon facts. Here are some pieces of evidence, owned by major corporations, private entities, or held by the government, that may disappear from You Tube and Facebook if SOPA/PIPA goes through:

  1. Monsanto Documentary. Documentaries routinely show news clips and advertisements produced and owned by the target of the criticism.
  2. WTC7 demolition. A 47-story skyscraper, not struck by a plane, collapsed in seconds at 5:20 p.m. on September 11th, in the exact manner of a controlled demolition. Footage owned by major networks.
  3. CEO Salaries.  In 2010, WellPoint Insurance company paid CEO Angela Braly almost 10 million in salary, incentives and stocks. Footage owned by ABC.
  4. Haliburton. Implicated in BP spill and other deep water spills due to cement work. Footage owned by MSNBC.

If you missed any of these stories on the news, you can still learn about them on the Internet, for now.

p.s. These “political” posts are exercises to prepare me to write my next novel Locus Amœnus.

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