Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Have I told y'all I interned on Capitol Hill? It was such a great experience and I learned a lot about how "the system" works. That is, I know enough to know that it *doesn't* always work. Longtime readers will know that I try hard to keep politics out of this blog. It could easily take over, and I'm not ready to make that leap yet. I'm not very good at keeping that balance in my life {my family and friends will tell you I come on a bit, erm, strongly} and this is a space where I can talk about other things.

I am making an exception today. There's currently a bill in the House Judiciary Committee called the Stop Online Piracy Act {SOPA}, or H.R. 3261. Introduced by Lamar Smith {R TX-21}, this bill seems like a good thing, like it would protect your intellectual property, your creativity, your work. That is not what this bill would do. It could end the internet as we know it.

Why? The way this is written, if you put something on your blog that someone thinks infringes their intellectual property, EVEN IF IT DOESN'T, YOU HAVE TO TAKE IT DOWN. Period. Do you know what this means? How many of us use pictures from Pinterest? How many of us simply write about other blogs critique books, review recipes? All fair game. By simply talking about things, you run the risk of "violating" someone's intellectual property.

And let's not forget about those of you who sell on etsy. How many of you make ruffle bags? Cards? Coasters? Paintings? What if you write about them on your blog and someone with a similar design thinks you've copied? You now have to take down your content related to YOUR product.

It is a gross violation of the spirit of the internet and frankly, the First Amendment. 

Sound sketchy? That's because it is. The bill hasn't made it out onto the floor yet {Reps. can't vote until it makes it onto the floor, so nothing will happen until then} but be proactive. Don't take my word for any of this. Read the bill and the CRS summary. Read Standford Law Review's commentary. Find out which corporations support this bill and which of those support Representatives and Senators {Huffington Post makes a good start in this article, but you can do the research yourself}. Visit this petition.

Most importantly, spread the word. Tweet this post, write your own post, call your Representative and Senator {or write a physical letter. Calling is better, but be prepared to give your address and zip code. That's how they know you're from their district or not}. Call the White House if it looks like this thing is going to pass. Fight back.


  1. yes!!!
    good job lauren ; keeping everybody updated ;)

  2. Oh wow! Thank you for the information. That's just craziness.

  3. Thanks for posting this. I had heard of SOPA, but didn't know exactly what it entailed. Absolutely lame. I'm retweeting this. :)