Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Toll Booth On The Information Highway

Change will always occur, whether we want it to or not. Sometimes it is for the betterment of the world and other times we question it. We seek it in our lives, for we know without change things can get boring. Change is borne of desire for something different and so is what keeps us alive.

Yet so many of us avoid change. We hold on to what is, convinced the devil we know is better than the devil we don't. Or we worry that the change will affect our little acre of land in this world. So we resist it, holding on tight until our knuckles turn white trying to stop it.

Right now there is legislation in Washington trying to pull the reins in on change. It is funded by those who fear they have the most to lose. Financially. It has been written by those who don't fully understand the infrastructure much less the implications of what they are trying to control. What they do understand is the Internet is basically free. And while we say we are the "land of the free" we prefer to figure out ways to charge everyone for everything.  Ironically, it is one of the few pieces of legislation that has bi-partisan support.

The interesting thing is the same people trying to curtail the change are the ones who dismissed it early on.  They thought things like the Internet and the free exchange of information were a passing fad that would have no effect on their brick and mortar establishments. Turns out they were wrong and now they want to try and stop it. Without really understanding what they are doing.

Should there be rules of the Internet highway? Of course. But don't try to push through ones like SOPA and PIPA whose primary interest is to erect a toll booth on what was a freeway.

I'd like to send you to other websites for more information on what is going on. But according to the pending legislation I may no longer be able to do that. Parts of these laws would curtail bloggers like myself from linking to anything without express permission and in fact possibly shut me down if I linked to something, somewhere that was not in full compliance with the new rules. Their justification? That someone, somewhere is not getting their nickels worth of royalty on possibly copyrighted material

So to give you a taste of what that world might be like, I'll leave you to fend for yourselves if you are interested in more details. Turn on the TV. Buy a newspaper. Spend some more money.  Imagine a world without Google.

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