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Freedom is not some game that can be won

EGrabow HD during the blackout

This message appeared on all EGrabow.com pages on 1/18/12:

I've suspended service on EGrabow.com until Thursday. Thousands of websites, most notably Wikipedia, are blacked out today in protest of two bills being considered in Washington: The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). Before I apologize for the inconvenience, I offer you one thought: What if some conglomerate can shut down your favorite websites, including this one, over vague accusations and without due process?

You wouldn't see messages like these on thousands of websites, but legalistic ones declaring the IP address has been seized by the government. Less variety. Less innovation. Less freedom.

I'm not harping specifically on SOPA/PIPA. It's expected to fail. And why tire yourself out on one bill when lobbyists are already writing the next? I joined this protest to recognize that the internet is one of democracy's greatest tools. The barriers to starting a website, your own dot-com, are well within reach of the individual, and the internet has blossomed under that system. Just like radio a hundred years ago, businesses will be founded and gov't regulations created. These things aren't bad until they start to run together and kill innovation. What is the state of radio today? Conglomerates everywhere copying off each other. And entrepreneurs seeking to compete in that market find the barriers to entry have become unreasonably high.

Freedom is not some game that can be won. The media establishment is trying to bend the law farther in their own interests, companies running on 20th century models trying to stop the 21st from taking over. Of course there should be copyright protection so they get return on their investments, but what they have is already more than enough. It's hurting the little guy.

Sorry to get political. The founders of this nation didn't mean for Washington's bickering to effect our day-to-day lives, but as government power expands so does politics. Now the future of the internet lies in the hands of technophobe lawyers who don't understand what they're passing (remember digital TV?).

Our government could do a lot better.

- Ryan Grabow
- Content Creator, Proud Owner & Webmaster, EGrabow.com

 

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