The Internet blackout did a good job of raising awareness of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PROTECT-IP, PIPA, or entirely absurd acronym). In fact so much awareness was raised and so many calls were made to “representatives” that both bills lost a great number of co-sponsors. People are cheering this as proof that democracy works and that we only need to bring attention of erroneous legislation to our “representatives” to stop the advance of the police state.
Unfortunately I have some bad news to report. You know all of those calls and e-mails made to “representatives” in Washington DC? They accomplished nothing. How can I say that? Simple, since passing either SOPA or PROTECT-IP became too difficult the government simply gave the middle finger to us serfs and decided to proceed as though either bill was passed. The popular file-sharing website MegaUpload was shutdown by the federal government*:
One of the world’s most popular file-sharing sites was shut down Thursday, and its founder and several company officials were accused of facilitating millions of illegal downloads of films, music and other content.
A federal indictment accused Megaupload.com of costing copyright holders at least $500 million in lost revenue. The indictment was unsealed one day after websites including Wikipedia and Craigslist shut down in protest of two congressional proposals intended to make it easier for authorities to go after sites with pirated material, especially those with overseas headquarters and servers.
Here’s a copy of the indictment [PDF] for those who are curious. When those assholes in Washington can’t get what they want in the form of legislation they just go ahead and do what they want anyways. In their eyes passing legislation is just a formality.
Many people were chanting, “This is what democracy looks like!” as “representatives” repealed their sponsorship of SOPA and PROTECT-IP. What they should have been saying is, “This is what a police state looks like.” The United States isn’t a republic or a democracy, it’s a fascist empire.
* As of this writing MegaUpload can be accessed using the IP address 188.8.131.52.