News & Notes January 19, 2012

Congressman Tim Holden withdrew his support for SOPA yesterday following a blackout day by major internet sites.  I’ve never known this corporate Democrat, my former Congressman, to back away from an issue.

My PA Progressive Summit workshop is scheduled for Sunday February 12th at 9 AM.  Titled Video 101  we’ll be teaching people how to setup, shoot, edit and upload videos.  Remember all those great interviews we did at McCain/Palin events in 2008?  We’ll teach you how to do them, how to edit them and where to upload them and post them on blogs.

The Penn State Board of Trustees meets again tomorrow amidst great controversy.  Alumni need to wake up to the reality of how this is seen by everyone not affiliated with the University.  Frankly I’m tired of seeing PSU being the subject of jokes.  It’s time to put this behind us and work on restoring our image.

The final vote totals in Iowa made Rick Santorum the winner by 34 tallies.  This means Mitt Romney has only won New Hampshire.  Rick Perry dropped out this morning.  I enjoyed his “vulture capitalism” attacks on Mitt and Bain Capital.  Maybe now Perry can go back to Texas and begin facing the reality of how climate change is destroying his state.

Former State House Speaker Bill DeWeese’s trial began this week.  This is the continuation of BonusGate.  It took the AG’s office forever to finally go after DeWeese.  Interestingly “One Term Tom” Corbett prosecuted all these politicos for mixing government with politics then turned around and did the same thing this week.  His Department of State hand delivered nominating petitions throughout the Capital in violation of the law.  No legislator will touch them for fear of it being a set-up.  Doing so would violate the very laws Corbett used to send former legislators to jail.  So was this a set-up or just sheer stupidity by Corbett?  I know the man isn’t the brightest star in the cosmos but apparently he doesn’t even shine in a mini-constellation.

President Obama rejected the costly and environmentally disastrous Keystone XL pipeline yesterday.  Reports it would create 20,000 jobs are bogus, it’s more like 6,000 temporary ones.  The risk of turning the Midwest into a BP oil disaster zone aren’t worth the risk.

Wisconsinites filed recall petitions against Gov. Scott Walker with more than 1,000,000 signatures, almost as many as the votes which put him into office.  Here they are filing them:

Today’s SOPA Strike

As you attempt to peruse the internet today you’ll find some of the 10,000 websites striking to protest SOPA.  the Stop Online Piracy Act is being pushed by giant corporations like NBC/Comcast and others to destroy the internet as we know it.  It would allow these huge content organizations to sue any website owner if anyone uploaded their copyrighted material.  In other words if someone put a picture or video in a comment thread here, or in a diary, even without my knowledge, Comcast could sue me personally.

Internet sites like Google, Wikipedia, Craigslist and others are going black today in protest.  Imagine YouTube not being there anymore or any of the websites where you upload pictures or video.  No blogs could allow any interaction because of the danger someone might upload a copyrighted picture.

We already have laws protecting copyrights.  If someone uses any of my pictures or video without permission (other than what I post on YouTube which have creative commons licensing) I have legal recourse against them.  I don’t need SOPA to protect my work and neither do they.  If this law passes however I and other web owners will severely restrict what you can do on our websites.

Congressmen Tim Holden and Tom Marino are co-sponsors of this horrendous legislation.

Oppose SOPA

One day soon none of your major internet sites may be available for you.  If the SOPA law passes Congress most major websites may close down or severely limit your interaction and content.  The Stop Online Piracy Act would allow major content providers like ABC, NBC, Comcast, etc to sue any web host who has copyrighted material on the website.  This applies even if someone else uploaded or put the content there without their knowledge.

Now I’m all for protecting copyrights.  I spend a lot of time and money covering campaigns, candidates and events only to see people rip off my pictures and videos without permission but there already exist remedies for this.  Any copyright holder can demand payment from someone infringing their rights and/or sue.  We don’t need a broad ranging law like this which will have a chilling effect on websites.  I’ve been threatened by lawyers for content on my blog put there by others.  I have no legal liability for that.  Under this new law I, and every other owner of websites, would be liable.

What does this mean?  No more uploading your pictures, videos or other content to sites like facebook, Twitter, AOL, Google, Yahoo (even mail accounts), YouTube or the various photo hosting sites.  The major ones are discussing taking one day and freezing their websites to get people’s attention about SOPA.

Here at The Pennsylvania Progressive I would have to disable all comments and diaries for example.  Contact your federal legislators and let them know you oppose SOPA.