#InternetFreedomDay

Michael PhillipsHard to believe it’s been a year since you and I defeated the proposed SOPA and PIPA legislation.

We wrote about the issue quite a bit in articles like Why you should care about the SOPA and PIPA legislation (part 1) (Part 2), An open letter to the web hosting industry and Were you duped by big technology companies into opposing SOPA and PIPA? (that one really got my goat, as the kids say) and we told you about becoming a Charter Member of the Internet Infrastructure Coalition.

We were all over the movement because it struck at the heart of our business. We love freedom – make no mistake – but we love our jobs too, and when something threatens them, we don’t sit back and hope that bad things won’t happen.

But thanks to you and millions of outraged people like you, we were able to get congress to step back from the brink and rethink their strategy. If they only acted out of fear for their wallets, so be it, the end result was the same.

Thomas Jefferson (or John Philpot Curran, apparently) said that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and that’s no joke. I don’t think any of us are naive enough to believe that big media has given up their efforts to get Congress to pass laws that will give them even more power than they already have to file a lawsuit against you because you saw or heard something without paying them a fee. Or because they think you may have.

I’m an artist and a writer who believes in and relies on copyright protection. But what the big media conglomerates want is not protection, it’s power. They think they can buy it, and why not — they’ve always been able to in the past. So it’s up to us to keep pushing back until they learn that they’re going to have to set aside the strong-arm tactics and figure out how to sell their products to a modern culture.

They’re going to have to change. But they won’t, and of course the politicians won’t, without being forced to do so.

So keep up the good work, and as Kris Kristofferson said, “Don’t let the bastards get you down.”

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