A Plagiarised Writer’s Response to #PIPA & #SOPA During the #Blackout

Cross-posted at Bed, Body & Beyond and Occupy at Home

If you go to Wikipedia today, you will find it blacked out — along with many other websites, blogs, twitter accounts, and more. However, on the Wiki page, along with the blackout is a way to contact your representative to tell them why you oppose PIPA/SOPA (or to learn more information about these bills, if you’re not familiar with them).

I encourage you to make your voice heard. Here is what I wrote to my representative and senators. Feel free to use whatever is relevant or useful to you:

As a writer who has had my work stolen — shadow companies were selling my articles under their own copyright on Amazon, as well as websites that have stolen my blog content and reprinted it without permission on advertisement-filled pages — I am very sympathetic to the aims and goals of SOPA and PIPA. In fact, multiple articles were stolen and sold on Amazon from a feminist newspaper I was in by this one company, and the editors and publishers of the magazine had tremendous difficulty getting Amazon to stop selling this stolen work.

I wonder how many of my other stories have, or will be, stolen — particularly because one of the genres I write in is erotica, and that seems to be an especially popular genre to steal and publish under another name. I work very hard on my stories. It’s no small feat, because I am severely disabled, and each time I write, it exhausts and sickens me. But I continue because it’s my passion and my joy and my job in this life.

I use the internet for everything — work, social interaction, news, research for work, research on my medical conditions and connections to others with my illnesses, personal study, and more — everything, really. I am bedbound due to chronic illness so it’s my connection to the world outside my bedroom. The idea of what PIPA and SOPA could mean for internet freedom and literacy is chilling to me. I am absolutely opposed to SOPA and PIPA, even with my personal experiences of internet piracy.

Megacompanies like Amazon need to be held accountable. They did their best to evade me, making their legal department all-but-unreachable, and then when I threatened them with legal action, they simply took down the pirated article without acknowledging my correspondence or compensating me for my stolen work. The big money-making machines, like Amazon, need to know that the DOJ has them in their sights, that authors need to be respected and protected.

But indiscriminate, sweeping legislation like SOPA or PIPA is not the answer. It throws the baby out with the bath water. It will not stop the internet megacorporations from their sloppy, unethical (and lucrative) practice of ignoring stolen work, but it will seriously damage the free exchange of ideas and information that is the life’s blood of the internet. The people of the internet are united in our opposition to SOPA and PIPA. I ask you to listen to your constituents, not corporate interests.

Thank you for your time, for reading, for listening, for following the will of the people.

P.S. If you have tried to email your representative or senator and gotten an error message where their website is supposed to be, that’s because so many people have registered their opposition to SOPA/PIPA that we’ve crashed their sites! Keep it up! You can still contact them on their Facebook pages or via Twitter.

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