— Jenny Neill

Site Update Coming Soon

This blog post preserves what I posted on January 17, 2012 as part of participating in the Stop SOPA/PIPA campaign. Much more has transpired in the ensuing months in the realm of digital rights and privacy. I never intended to cover such issues on this blog and I can’t say with certainty that I won’t write about them here ever again.

However, I do have some other changes coming soon to this site. Removing the Stop SOPA/PIPA WordPress plug-in is part of getting ready for a minor update.

Previously Published on my Stop SOPA/PIPA Page:
While you might not know it from what I write about on this site, I’ve spent much of the past 10 years writing for software corporations. My work has involved creating technical documentation and content for those who build the network and software infrastructure that web sites use to deliver content and services. Even before that, I helped form a network of (mainly) women writers to share resources and learn together how to earn a living creating content for this brand new media channel, the World Wide Web.

Media is (still) changing. So is the way content gets distributed. Both continuing transitions present many challenges to artists, content creators, and the organizations whose role is to help art reach audiences. There is no doubt new mechanisms need to be developed for protecting copyright, digital rights, and intellectual properties. Piracy is a problem. However, a law that essentially requires service providers to enforce a blacklist is neither a solution for protecting copyright nor a good idea.

To understand better what is at stake, please visit these sites:

  • Defend our freedom to share (or why SOPA is a bad idea) – A TEDtalk by Clay Shirky. 13 minute video worth watching for those unfamiliar with what the laws ask businesses to do on behalf of copyright holders.
  • Standing in Opposition – Eric Meyer is a friend, an author, and an expert on a number of the technologies that make up this here thing we call the Internet. He and I met many years ago at a summer camp that encouraged us to think critically and to express ourselves creatively. I respect him and I respect his view. Fri. Jan. 20, 2012 ETA: Just as I have added a brief “this is not yet over” note below, Eric has posted a similar caution. Go read it, please.
  • A Technical Examination of SOPA and PROTECT IP – This reddit blog post, written by Jason Harvey who is a system administrator there, walks through the specifics of the technical and legal language that many in the IT industry take issue with. For those seeking a much deeper look at the legislative language directly, this is an excellent primer.
  • Stop the Internet Blacklist Bills – The Electronic Frontier Foundation form provides an easy way to contact your congressional representative. You may, of course, contact your representative directly if you prefer by looking them up at the Write Your Representative page.

I’ve contacted my representatives and encourage any American citizen reading this to do the same.

Friday, January 20, 2012 – Edited to add (ETA):
The Twitterverse and breaking news sites are already all a-buzz about Lamar Smith, the chief sponsor of SOPA, choosing to pull it for now. Harry Reid has also chosen to postpone a vote on PIPA. While this is very encouraging news, these bills will be revised and put forward again in some fashion.

I’m leaving this page up as is for now, with clear notification (as above) when I edit it. I plan to update it when revised or new bills to address these issues are brought forward.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 – ETA:
There is another initiative I’ll be keeping an eye on. This one is an international treaty called the the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement or ACTA.

Friday, April 27,2012 – ETA:
Travel and life has kept me more off the internet than on it for the past couple of weeks. Yesterday, Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) passed in the House of Representatives. This Gizmodo post, Privacy-Killing CISPA Bill Passes House, includes some analysis but perhaps more importantly the full text of the bill that passed and who voted for it. This is one to watch closely. I expect I’ll be making more frequent updates on this page in coming weeks.