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Take a Stand Against Online Censorship

Katie Armstrong
November 16, 2011 by Katie Armstrong Alum

Today, Congress held hearings on the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), two bills that would give the power to the government and content owners to censor and block websites that host even just one piece of content that allegedly infringes a copyright. The video below addresses the Senate version of the PROTECT IP Act, but a much more severe House bill was just introduced and is set up to pass soon if we don’t take action NOW. These bills threaten the very essence of the web and the communities that have risen from it.

PROTECT IP Act Breaks The Internet by Fight for the Future

Please stand with us to fight this legislation geared toward stifling free speech and innovation online.

Visit americancensorship.org to learn more and join the protest.

82 Comments

Chris Loh Plus

they should consider blocking porn maybe.. out of all the things the government could be doing, they chose this..?

GomezTello

Individuals ruin families, porn is not the problem.

Özcan Çelik

They should block porn? How they decide it's good or bad for you? It's your own life. I never understand, why goverments always want to control your private life.

Evan Gallagher

lol at the theory that the internet should be government regulated because some losers cant keep a relationship together from a bit of the ole porno. Merica!!

dean berdusis Plus

honestly, why would anyone want to ban the one thing that is pretty much free to produce and infringes on absolutely no copyrights or patents - unless MONSANTO gets involved...

Richard Lutz Plus

I'm backing this completely. BTW, we need to all hit the like button to make sure this gets the attention it deserves.

Juoum 77

u$a rules!! Way to go Democracy and Freedom of Speech!!

Guillaume Levrier

I am currently using vimeo from China (using a VPN, vimeo being censored by "the great firewall"). Chinese internet has become a country-large intranet : 95% of referenced and accessible websites are hosted domestically. But it is not due to copyright issues ;)

ADW Plus

I sincerely hope this doesn't happen. The Pirate Bay has been taking the piss in my opinion, but this legislation is draconian. I don't know who will pay the cost of policing this, but if it's run as a for-profit corporation billing the US federal government, you can bet your ass it'll get out of hand.

Ernest Worthing

This will be a step backward of magnanimous proportions.

Please dont let it be so.

Sfilmuj Mnie

Very sad. Although I am not from your country I understand potential impact of this new law. Fuck them!

ArtsMoved

Great animation for a great idea...

Martin Tourneur

Being from Canada, I must say that I will attempt to sign the 'Worldwide Petition'. I would like to take this opportunity to say that I am growing increasingly tired of corporations/legislators telling me what to share or upload to the internet.
This far, no farther!
What is the point of buying a DVD if I cannot share a five-minute scene on a social network and risk penalty (?!) Soon, I will have my own web site and invite my friends personally and discuss and share what I deem appropriate. MPAA was bad enough…now this!

RJ Foley Plus

I'll must say I don't support the bill, but why can't people post original content as opposed to using someone else's. I'm just saying, it pays more to be original, instead of singing someone else's pop song Make Your Own!

Kyle van Tonder

Evil conglomerates. Controlling DNS servers is just the first step if this gets through...

Darren Ashley

Done and done - this is outrageous - another step in the eradication of freedom of speech.

Conference Report

I find it pretty ironic that Vimeo is supporting this, given that they deleted my account without warning, proper explanation or apology.

dean berdusis Plus

You know, it's easy to get fired up about our freedom... our rights to open media... I tend to look at history from time to time for advice on topics that aren't clear cut for me...

In the '40s and '50s the government placed such ridiculous censorship laws on Hollywood film-making that the writers, forced to work within these tyrannical parameters, came up with incredibly creative ways to beat them. The films of Billy Wilder (Some Like It Hot) come to mind. Creativity has always sprung from environments of deficit wether economic or moral (censorship).

I bring this up because the video above (nicely produced) references a baby video on Youtube infringing copyright. Well, I've been to Youtube lately, and I'm downright disgusted with all the "noise" that passes off as... whatever. If online content could somehow be measured as pollution, Youtube's contribution would weigh-in larger than every oil spill and toxic dump on the planet. There's so much online content without any discipline of craft or restraint because we have no parameters, no one saying "NO." We see a decay in creativity every time we have no parameters of any kind placed on us. The creatives in the world will still be creative with new censorship laws, they may just be pushed a little bit more to express a more unique and original form of expression. I for one, love a limitation or two to fight against. My work only gets better.

But this is just an opinion...

RJ Foley Plus

Exactly, just because you upload it, doesn't make it art, even if your kid is in the video.

Bjorn Florn

The internet is for everybody, not just artists. Thinking about it in terms of artistic integrity and merit I think is missing the point. If you want a video site with controlled content, start your own! The beauty of equal opportunity on the internet affords that to you!

BLACKMAGIC ROLLERCOASTER

This bill won't do anything good - for consumers or creators. This is all about putting Hollywood's dying business model on life-support. The entertainment industry's current system will die (soon) whether or not this bill passes. If this does pass, we'll be left with a compromised internet, policed by the whims of crooks.

Theodore Schott

I do-not, think our Govt., can hurt us. Look at China's failed censorship efforts. It cost them Billions, in online-sales.

Kinan Jarjous

I am neither American nor do I live in America, but this is absolute mediocrity. Why would anyone even debate such bills? Oh wait -- of course, the corporations want more money. Might as well copyright everything I write and make millions out of people writing a sentence similar to something I have written without them attributing me properly and paying me fees.

People who want to pirate, WILL pirate. The more restrictions you put, the more the piracy community will thrive.

Heck, if it were not for YouTube videos, how would many people across the world get exposed artists from across the world? To musicians? To fellow peers with the same interest?

Every day I believe I should quit my daytime job in the media industry and my freelance photography and unplug from the digital world and live on a small island by myself with my three sheep and six rabbits and a cow and small vegetable farm.

dean berdusis Plus

"Every day I believe I should quit my daytime job in the media industry and my freelance photography and unplug from the digital world and live on a small island by myself with my three sheep and six rabbits and a cow and small vegetable farm."

... you might be surprised at where that will lead your creativity...

Oleh Myronenko

Done. "No" from Ukraine! Really no to globalisation either.

Angeline Gragasin Plus

Thanks for posting, Katie. Would like to see more of this kind of content on the Staff Blog!

Ari Virem

Something similar is already happening at Finland. Internet Providers are blocking specific sites (incl. TPB) from their customers. What next? YouTube shut down and millions will go to jail for their youtube videos.. ridiclious!

SpicyCreative Plus

I support!!
And I can't believe what is happening, I was looking for the OWS and is almost impossible to found it in CNN or any news broadcast webpage, only in TIME, is incredible the way that the BIG COMPANIES RULES THIS COUNTRY

Michele Carlote

This legislation is subterfuge. The potential for abuse, as cited in the video, is the true purpose and hidden agenda. The 1% recognizes the power of the internet to deliver free speech, and it scares them. They will do everything they can to maintain their oppressive control over the 99%, but in the end, they will fail.

Vascons

Just let people be themselves. Maybe they really just believe in this thing called love. Maybe even they just believe.

Stop stealing kids creativity by hacking on net. No matter which specific site it might be.

fastgirlfilms PRO

Content creators are adapting to online commerce, yet the laws haven't caught up. Online piracy isn't about free speech, it's about monetizing theft. If you spend ten minutes looking online you'll see that the vast majority of content "sharing" is motivated by the desire to make a buck. As an indie filmmaker I've witnessed first hand how online pirates are, for the most part, black market profiteers who've moved from bootlegging DVDs at flea markets to setting up shop online--way easier, no downside and potentially many more customers. The money comes in various ways, mostly via the pyramid scheme also know as cyber-lockers. At any rate, rather than go on and on, I suggest folks really examine what's behind online piracy and what can be done about it. I created a video from a presentation I gave a last year's Canadian Music week and it's online here at Vimeo if any of you care to watch. I tried to be straightforward about what's happening online and the link to money. You can find it here: vimeo.com/22541902 I also started a blog about the link between money and piracy, mostly to document my own experiences as an indie artist: popuppirates.com

At any rate, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion on the matter. I do hope that before deciding, however, you ignore the rhetoric (often erroneous) and take the time to delve deeper into the issue.

I would also mentioned that Vimeo as a company has certain interests at stake. I would also ask them if they have plans to follow YOUTUBE in establishing a very effective solution--Content ID system that allows artists to determine what happens to their content when its uploaded (monetize, takedown, do nothing).

Aaron Smethurst

Thanks for the thoughtful comments! As a creator I'm sure you understand what is at stake more than others. Keep up the good fight!

Andy Wood

It's probably already happening ... not sure why legislation is needed, or is that the way the 'fat cats' share out the spoils.

Or is this just another one of those stories to divert attention from the real problems ... remember these end of the world scenarios - we are all going to die of bird flue ... the commies are going to get us ....Iraq has WMD's !

By the way, does anyone know where the trillions of $ £ € have gone .... Hmmm I think I know who's going to have to pay though.

Back to copyright ... whatever happened to "any publicity is good publicity" ... I'm all for suing people that aim to make money from other peoples material - it's illegal and immoral but having some music track on a home video isn't going to have much impact on the studios other than maybe give them a bit of extra exposure.
There must be a better way than banning, blocking and legislation.

Joseph 孤狼 Morales

This is really bad thing, I'm from Mexico and when the big brother do his thing, this place follows maybe everything that his BB do, for me is a bad bad news...

Greg Crawford

This proposed law could seriously hurt the flow of news and information and free speech on the internet. One of the provisions in the legislation would criminalize (Felony) using a fictitious name, or making a false statement to an internet access provider.

Those of us in the internet who have a Stage name, or Air Name could be in violation just for using this identify on line. I have a Facebook page one an air name (Todd Walker), as I an air personality (DJ) for many years. Some of those years using a different name. I have not used in years, but just in case anyone who like to contact me, and only remember be from New Haven, Ct., Bakersfield, CA., or Fresno, CA. could still find me.

I have a couple air chicks up on Youtube, under the names Groover Cleveland, Groover Crawford and Todd Walker, along with my real name, Greg Crawford. Just having a Facebook Page with a air name, could be considered criminal behavior.

Not to mention if your internet provider deems your political views to be controversial, just trying to log on to banded web site could be in violation of the providers rights, you signed to log on.

If my analysis seems fair fetched, consider that recently it was reported that a Ron Paul supporter could not log on to a Libertarian web site, while staying at a Sheraton Inn. It may seem like just an annoyance to the person learning, that Children have to be protected from these type of web sites, but turning it into a Felony. This Law would have a chilling effect on freedom of speech, Religion and Political beliefs.

It does not mater weather you like Libertarians or not, Free Speech is a big part of what makes America Great. Let's not let it be aoudad, by new laws and treaties that seem harmless at first site, but could unravel our Constitutional Rights.

I urge you to sign this petition to stop this bill from passing.

"Statistic 101"

muziclifestylz.wordpress.com/
I made a spontaneous and out of norm. blog to give supporters the ability to search more links, get involved, & participate..."It's not about me, it's about YOU!" ...check it to prove...

Heather Clebo

The real target for this desired censorship capability is political and economic organizing by the rabble.

Mitchell O'Hearn Plus

Not from the US, but i supported the cause. Added a little Australian flavour to the petition.

RGB Parade

Good one Vimeo! Australia represent

02Epic

WHERE IS THE ARTICLE 19 OF THE UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS?

Matt Schwarz Staff

Thanks for sharing your opinion, but lets refrain from using harsh language please!

RJ Foley Plus

What's the point of spending 'x' amount of time and energy producing new and/or original content, when every yahoo with a YouTube account can just modify and post derivatives of your work, without your notice or permission.

That's not creative, nor is it art. Why not instead go to your local city center and find a local artist, and just ask them to use their work in your film. Most would be glad to help out, more than you expect. And now You and the Artist can both have a piece of a bigger pie.

I guess those people who want to get paid for their creative works are the only people concerned with piracy. Again, I don't support big gov't telling us how to play, but it's going to happen in this case. The internet is still a developing market, especially when if comes to media distribution. Hollywood doesn't know how it's going to pay it's bills in the future. And being that all of us Vimeans are independent producers of sorts, that means us too.

I don't want real artists to suffer, but I would like a piece of the pie Hollywood is starting to lose, it's there for all of us now, but it's going to mean Youtubers and alike are not going to be able to just post what ever they feel like.

And to be honest, (IMHO i must say) YouTube and the internet in general needs a good cleaning out, it's getting grimy out here amongst the 1's and 0's.

Bjorn Florn

By Hollywood do you mean the artists? Or do you mean the industry that takes most of the pie that the artists allow them to generate? Sure, the internet has caused large entertainment companies to shrink, but it has also caused a boom in smaller, independent industries which provide potentially better deals for artists, and potentially stronger communities between artists and their fans.

Also, the internet isn't only about art, it's about freedom of expression and community. Everyone gets to leave a comment on this page, regardless of the quality of their writing skills, or the merits of their opinion. Why should the rest of the internet be different?

Just because you don't like what someone has to say, doesn't mean it shouldn't be allowed.

RJ Foley Plus

I agree, you don't have to like what people say, and people's opinions should be heard, if they are valid and informed. As an independent artist, I don't want my music/art etc., used frivolously in other people's work. Artists should be able to have a say in what their work gets used for, and have a way of restricting who gets to use it and have a method of of punishing those who don't respect that. How else will small production companies make money of their work if everyone can just 'have' a piece of it.

And the entertainment industry isn't just artists and big corporations. There are a lot of people in between trying to make a living using there skills (gaffers, audio techs, riggers, etc.) who are caught in the middle. If the internet remains unrestricted, everyone will feel the effects, for similiar reasons to why corporations should have restrictions placed on them.

Again, this bill isn't good, but it has the potential of protecting artists who make original work, contact your representatives and make it a better bill. I don't want my 'creative content' to be free, that's how I pay my bills.

Copenhagen

Support from Denmark - If US continues this approach then the net will also belong to the China eventually. What happened to freedom? oh, sure I forgot greed

JackNightingale

I was talking to a woman about this and this is what she told me -

"Against Online Censorship, is a lie being pushed by the technology industry. So they can continue making billions of dollars stealing from the creative community. Vimeo and YouTube would go out of business if people weren't allowed to steal. Analyze for yourself how many online videos draw most (if not all) of their appeal from the use of copyrighted works! If that changed, Barry Diller would have to layoff the entire Vimeo staff! Sergey Brin's mother-in-law is vice chair of Creative Commons for god's sake!

It's a shady business - but hey, who cares - the profits are great!" she said.

Bjorn Florn

Either way, censorship or not, someone's gonna get an awful lot of money that I will never see a penny of.

EDUARD TABERNER Plus

And is this a free country? Ilove the usa but I rreally hate its goverment and capitalist politics

Dan Disuye Plus

I'm against profiteering but I am much more inclined to prevent government meddling in the internet.

Answer honestly, do you really dislike the 'anything goes' atmosphere around here? I love it.

Content for free is the fate of all creative endeavors from here on in. Adapt & survive.

p.s: I stole this Pirate Rackham avatar image from Wikipedia, and it looks like Vimeo grabbed it from the same place for use in this video hehe

BRUCE BANE

...what are they afraid of hmm ?

Mike C

I'm very much FOR getting rid of access to torrent sites, and any sites that pirate movies, music, etc. It would be nice if that could happen.

tudd ster

3 easy steps!
1. walk/drive to a supporter
2. SLAP!
3. be happy

;)
Or, you can just sign the petition... Slapping is more fun though!

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