The internet is celebrating today. People are screaming from digital rooftops in all caps: SOPA IS DEAD! WE DID IT! WE SAVED THE INTERNET! SOPA IS DEEEEEEEEEAAAD!
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) announced on Friday that he will postpone consideration of his Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) until there is wider agreement on the controversial legislation.
Yeah, SOPA’s dead, like a vampire’s dead. IE, SOPA is undead. The key word there is postpone. What we have here is a delay and a free'd up acronym (anyone for a Start Online Privacy Act?). It will be back before we know it with a new name and a new purported and super urgent purpose. Perhaps child pornography - certainly no publicly motivated human on earth could possibly criticize a bill that promises to end child pornography. Maybe “terrorism” concerns when we’re officially at war with Iran and Syria. Or a new, perfectly vague and manipulatable threat that news anchors can really get hysterical over: cyber terrorism. Some sort of i911. And with Anonymous declaring all out war in the wake of the Megaupload shutdown, this could come back around pretty quickly.
Ah, the Megaupload thing. In which The Cloud dream was killed forever (for who in their right mind could risk storing all their important info online when the Feds can come and snatch it all, just because someone else has a copy of Pirates Of The Caribbean in the next digital locker along?) SOPA’s postponement was announced directly after after The Mega Upload thing, not our beautiful, 13 million strong web blackout. The Megaupload Thing... in which The Powers That Be made a big ole impeccably-timed Hollywood movie style action packed bust for the teevee, underlining the fact that they don’t actually NEED any goddamn SOPA, or PIPA, to close a website, take innocent people’s property and destroy a business without any trial or due process. PRE CRIME MOTHERFUCKER. We said you did it, and we are Team America, World Police, and we will arrest a German national in the sovereign nation New Zealand if we like because we are the frikkin BEEEEEST! All Your Internetz Are Belong 2 Us! In your FACE Human Rights!
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.
As the Atlantic’s Dashiell Bennett notes:
The shutdown inadvertently proved that the U.S. government already has all the power it needs to take down its copyright villains, even those that aren’t based in the United States. No SOPA or PIPA required.
Of course, the trial could always end in a failed prosecution, making an excellent highly visible case for the inadequacies of existing law, thus setting the stage for the newly branded SOPA/PIPA (the pet project, let us not forget of but TWO American business organisations: Hollywood and the major label music industry.) "But that crazy fat man was banging Playboy Bunnies on private jets!" the people will wail. "It's not fair! He must not be allowed to get away with it! We demand you fix this immediately! He must burn! He must be stoned! To hell with the internet!"
And so, like The Kaiser Chiefs before them, SOPA and PIPA will return, singing the same shit songs, yet beloved of the masses where once they were spat upon.
A battle may have been won - unless that was a deliberate run up the flagpole slash testing of the waters to begin with - but this is no time for any laurel-hammocked slumber parties. Here in Europe, our unelected Turbo-Catholic masters are already pushing their similarly bogus Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Tyranny, like Chuck norris, does not sleep... it waits...and eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.