Episode 9 Recap Blacked Out to Protest SOPA/PIPA

Odds are you’re looking for the recap of episode nine of Venice Season 3. Unfortunately, you won’t be finding it here today.

We apologize that we can’t provide the recap this evening. We know many people look forward to reading it, and we certainly enjoy sharing our discussion of the show. However, alongside many other websites, we are adhering to the Internet Blackout of January 18, 2012 to protest the possibility that Congress may adopt the bills known as SOPA and PIPA as they are currently written.

If these laws are passed, many of the things we do in creating these recaps – such as linking to film or TV clips or using screencaps to illustrate our point – would be illegal. Currently, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides a safe harbor for bloggers and other content providers. If we use something that is technically under copyright, the copyright holder is obligated to notify us and request that the offending item be removed from our posting. SOPA and PIPA would strip us of that protection. Additionally, though we often link to copyrighted material, we believe we have a legal right as critics to do so. SOPA and PIPA would remove our ability to argue this through due process. Our site could be removed from the internet without our ability to present a legal challenge. These bills engender censorship and create a chilling effect on creativity and innovation.

This doesn’t just apply to us. It applies to anyone who has ever linked to a film clip or a song on Facebook or Twitter. It applies to anyone who has ever spent an afternoon catching up on Bo and Carly clips or relived the magic of Otalia on YouTube or watched a fanvid. One could argue that Venice would not exist without the enormous response that Otalia created – a response that was fueled in large part by people being able to enjoy these clips over and over again. As Rysler points out, she never saw a single moment of Otalia before Guiding Light ended its run on CBS. Under these laws, that content would have been inaccessible to her once the show ended.

If you want the Internet to remain free and for “safe harbor” laws to remain in effect, we urge you to contact your US Representatives and Senators and tell them that you do not want them to support SOPA (House) or PIPA (Senate).

Do it for Otalia. Do it for yourself.


Jaina, Rysler, and Kelinswriter

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