Tomorrow, January 18th, we’re going to interrupt our normally scheduled Shapeways Live and postpone it by a day. Why is that? At 2pm EST, when Shapeways Live normally takes place, I’ll be standing outside the offices of NY Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, along with members of the Shapeways team, and 1,100 of our closest from the local tech community, protesting SOPA and PIPA at the Emergency NY Tech Meetup.
Why are we bothering to stand out in the cold during our lunch break, and generally disrupt our daily activities? Robert wrote about SOPA and PIPA back in November, and laid out Shapeways’ stance on this piece of legislation link. Basically, it’s bad news. It takes the generally honorable goal of protecting folks who create content and defines it so poorly and so broadly that if passed, it endangers the flow of information on the Internet. Tech entrepreneurs would spend so much time in the courtroom that they couldn’t run their companies, while people could face jail time just for (unknowingly) streaming copyrighted content. To quote the information technology magazine eWeek:
“The language of SOPA is so broad, the rules so unconnected to the reality of Internet technology and the penalties so disconnected from the alleged crimes that this bill could effectively kill e-commerce or even normal Internet use. The bill also has grave implications for existing U.S., foreign and international laws and is sure to spend decades in court challenges.”