Apparently, according to my facebook, its American Censorship Day. Or so the mods over at would have us believe.

According to the website some pretty scary things could happen if the legislation in question became law in its current form.

“The government can order service providers to block websites for infringing links posted by any users.”

That sounds scary. Someone leaves a link to an unauthorized cover by their band on your music blog and suddenly you’re shut down!

“It becomes a felony with a potential 5 year sentence to stream a copyrighted work that would cost more than $2,500 to license, even if you are a totally noncommercial user, e.g. singing a pop song on Facebook.”

You put up a karaoke version of you singing, or practicing “Annie” for your school play and you go to jail? That’s outright scary!

“Thousands of sites that are legal under the DMCA would face new legal threats. People trying to keep the internet more secure wouldn’t be able to rely on the integrity of the DNS system.”

Oh no! Our DNS System would be un-integritated?

I’ll be right up front and admit that the current phrasing of the law is bad and it should be kicked back to committee really. And it probably won’t pass. Similar bills have come and gone and none have gone into law. I would happily protest this law on the basis of common sense. I would not and will not call this censorship, however.

Why? Because its not, and I’d hate to be a liar.

The government isn’t restricting speech here. They are not saying you can’t say and do things, they are not saying you can’t view and download copyrighted material. They are simply saying you can only do it through legitimate channels.

Now their punishments and definitions associated with that are way off- but they are not banning you from consuming and sharing media- they just want you to comply with the existing law. The only way they can think to do that is to impose harsh restrictions on what we consider normal use.

I’m not convinced that’s an effective way to go about it. Because it snot. But its not censorship.

When I am prosecuted by the Federal Government for political dissent on my facebook wall- I will call that censorship.

Until then I’ll just call it the potential end of normal use.


You’re probably still