Let us kill SOPA before damage is made

Imagine there was a part of the world where speech was truly free, information was readily available, and the whole of humanity's intellectual capital could be accessed in a few seconds. A place where everyone with a solution could reach everyone else who needed that solution instantly and at (almost) no cost. Where knowledge was shared freely, contributed by everyone who had something to contribute, and thus amplified far beyond the capability of any one individual or group of people. A world where the cost of starting a business is often zero and where the best always rises to the top. A place to meet new people, learn things you didn't know you didn't know, and find opportunities that could turn your life in fresh, unknown directions.

Sounds familiar? We are all living in this reality right now - it's called the Internet. Chances are, if you have ever used a computer you have derived value from the Internet in some way and degree. The dream is here; the opportunity is now.

What about "sounds to good to be true"? Well, this might in fact become just a fantasy. If you and I don't take action, that is. Apparently, some people in the entertainment industry are not very happy with this Internet situation. They say it is used to steal the artists' work from them. To prevent this thievery, these people are lobbying the US government to pass some laws that will change how we use the web.

But this is a cover-up. The reality is, those entertainment industry people are middlemen, not artists. And the Internet is making their business model obsolete. Examples of artists who are using the Internet to find an audience are left, right and center. Ask Justin Bieber how he got to be so famous as to reportedly sell 50% of all music sold in the 2010.

We knew this all along: for every business model the Internet destroys, it creates ten new ones. But those people don't see it that way. They don't want to evolve with the time and adapt to the new reality. Instead of looking for ways to make the Internet work for them, they want to control how you and I use it. And in that process, they want to damage it.

This is ironic. The Internet is the closest the humanity has come to a free market economy in its entire existence. And now some business is lobbying the politicians to make it less free.

Listen, this thing called the Internet is not just a bunch of machines connected by a bunch of wires. It is a value system and a system for self-governance. EVERYTHING valuable about it comes from the fact that it's free. We have all grown accustomed to it; turn on your computer, and it's there. Herein lies the danger: if we take it for granted we could wake up one day and discover we cannot recognize it anymore. The forces that want to pass this bill like speed and stealth; and bribes - generous amounts of bribes. They want to achieve their objective under our collective radar.

I'm not too worried about Hollywood's capacity to get this legislation adopted. The Internet economy is massively bigger than them. It generates more revenue, creates more jobs, and produces more value. As one reader remarked, if only Google and Facebook blocked their US users for one day to give everyone a taste of an Internet-crippled future, the lawmakers would change their minds rather quickly.

But they don't have to - if we the users make our voice heard. Whether you tell your friends, tweet, blog like I just did, or find other ways to say no to SOPA, we're making sure we send a clear signal and those who need to receive it, do. In due time.