PSA: Your favorite sites aren't down today, they're just protesting SOPA and PIPA

If you're browsing to your favorite site-that's-not-iMore today, for example Wikipedia or Reddit, and notice it's either blacked out or otherwise differently-functional, don't worry, they haven't gone down, they haven't been hacked, they're just protesting some wrong-headed U.S. legislation known as SOPA and PIPA (and I'd ask kindly they add ACTA to the list).

In a nutshell, Hollywood considers us all content thieves and their inexplicable hostility towards their own customers has caused them to expend tremendous time, effort, and money trying to get the U.S. government to cram through anti-consumer legislation that doesn't really fight illegal and unlicensed content distribution, but sure does trample individual rights, fair use provisions, and in general the whole concept of due process. To combat this, people who actually know what the internet is and how it works have applied equal and oppositional force back, up to an including today's black out. Fear of informed, engaged citizens has caused some politicians to rethink their support of these bills (though why they supported them to begin with should be a question asked pointedly and repeatedly come reelection time). But there's more work to be done.

Intellectual property violations are real. More than a decade ago I walked into a store in Hong Kong and saw a book I'd spent years researching, photographing, and writing photocopied and offered up for discount sale. I've been creating content most of my life. I understand it's value. It's Hollywood that doesn't -- that inflates and infantilizes it, that makes reasonable protection impossible in the face of their unreasonableness.

The defensiveness of movie makers and music labels, of myopic media throwbacks, of technophobes and all but disintermediated middlemen should never be put before the rights of the people who -- by the way -- are the very consumers who buy their products and provide them the very money they spend to lobby for such insane legislation to begin with.

Apple broke this conundrum years ago with iTunes: Make things easily available and price them fairly.

How about we make that the law?

Source: Wikipedia SOPA and PIPA resource page, Wikipedia ACTA page