What’s the Big Deal about SOPA?

Late last month, Texas Congressman Lamar Smith introduced H.R. 3261, more commonly known as the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. The goal of the bill is to provide the US Government, specifically the Attorney General, with the tools to crack down on copyright infringement and counterfeit goods. The intent of SOPA seems fair enough. Writers and musicians and other creative people spend a lot of time, effort, and money developing their work, and the internet makes it so easy to distribute that product without the initial creator getting any benefit from it. (As a few of our Persephone writers and editors learned recently, often plagiarized without even the credit of having their name on it.) Of course it comes as no surprise that groups like the RIAA, MPAA, television studios, and publishing companies would be the chief proponents of the bill; their livelihoods depend on intellectual property rights. But as with more legislation than I care to think about, SOPA comes with some pretty shady unintended consequences. Continue reading

My So-Called Life: She Woke Up

It’s amazing sometimes how things come together. In a week where the blogosphere is obsessing over the memoir of the Tiger Mother, and discussing the idea of tough-love parenting, I have occasion to re-watch an early 90s TV show featuring a tough-talking substitute teacher. Episode 6, “The Substitue,” is all about shaking up the status quo.  A blunt, sometimes-harsh man with extremely high expectations of the kids comes along and makes them challenge their own ideas about what’s right, and what’s “good enough.” Continue reading

The Power of Censorship

Simmering just below the surface of all the drama in the news over WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s alleged crimes is a very interesting debate about censorship, freedom of the press, and what even counts as being “the press.” Frankly, Assange has done his beliefs and supporters a real disservice by being such an asshole. If he hadn’t allegedly done the things he allegedly did, then everyone would be talking about censorship instead of debating the meaning of consent. Continue reading

Amazon Promotes Freedom of Speech via E-Book for Pedophiles

Yesterday as I scrolled my Twitter stream, I kept seeing references to an e-book which had many tweeters’ panties in a bunch. I explored a little more and figured out that it’s come to the attention of Twitter that Amazon carries a most disgusting book — a book called “The Pedophiles Guide to Love and Pleasure”  (oh how I wish I was kidding). Continue reading