No, we’re not occupying the tool department at the neighborhood Sears. And no, I not blacking out the blog because if I did you couldn’t read this message. But yes, I want to talk about how this blog and much of the Gearhead interwebs are threatened by a couple truly stupid pieces of legislation, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA).

Now none of us support the theft of intellectual property, and sleezeballs who illegally copy and sell at juicy profits the works of artists, actors, etc. deserve a special place in hell, AFTER they get out of prison. We’ve already got plenty of laws to convict cyber thieves with, but some very big businesses have convinced congress (no doubt with some hefty campaign contributions) that they need more draconian laws. Laws that would allow big corporations to sue and shut down internet service providers, websites great and small, and even little ‘ol bloggers like me.

Let me explain how this works- Say I write an uncomplementary review of a major manufacturers product. And to add some visuals, I add a couple pictures of the product I’ve panned from the manufacturers website. Now the big auto and motorcycle makers and/or their ad and PR agencies are pretty web savvy- they typically have staffers that do nothing but surf the web searching for good, bad, and ugly comments on their company and it’s products. Some, like GM, even hire pro bloggers to pimp their products, although the pay is pretty low (free use of a GM vehicle, but no expense account). So if I say something these big companies don’t like, I probably won’t get invited to their next presser, even if I pay my own way. But right now, that’s about all they can do.

But if these truly stupid laws pass, GM or HOG(NYSE) or whoever big that’s mad at me this week can serve me with a ton of legal papers demanding that I cease and desist and pay a few million dollars damages on the grounds that I maybe used a trademarked picture from their brochure or web page that they give out for free anyway. They send even more legal papers and lawsuits to our host WordPress, which being a medium sized company can in no way afford to take on GM or even HOG(NYSE) in court. So they pull the plug on GearheadGrrrl.com, and this little voice that actually likes GM and tolerates HOG(NYSE) is silenced. And just in case I and WordPress don’t cease and desist, the megacorporation serves Google and every other search engine too, demanding that my critical review of their product be banished from their search results.

Imagine an internet with nothing but corporate websites glorifying big companies and their products. Nowhere in that internet will voices arise from the darkness and complain about the trannies that are failing at only 20,000 miles or warn newbies about a defect in the brakes of a half century old motorcycle and how to fix them.

Sound like communist China and they’re officially censored version of the internet? No, just what our internet will be like if these stupid and unneeded laws, SOPA and PIPA, are passed. If you agree with me (or not), please let your congressmember know your opinion.

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