The Internet is on the verge of collapse. Again. It's all very dramatic. This time it has nothing to do with the threat of tiered services, malicious spyware or the ubiquity of porn, but a bill working its way through Washington. Members of Congress, at their predictably constipated clip, are sweating and straining to pass the Stop Online Piracy Act, the primary intent of which would be to shut down foreign websites guilty of copyright infringement. Except the bill is so broadly worded and clumsily phrased that, if enacted, it would effectively hand over censorship of the entire Internet to American businesses, and the entertainment industry in particular. Incidentally, it was lobbyists for the entertainment industry who wrote this bill in the first place. So, just like Hans Gruber's plan in Die Hard, politics is only the pretense of this whole production -- this is really about money. And I'm fine with that.
Photo source: Piracy
I should point out before I go any further that SOPA is destined to fail, at least at its publicly stated purpose. SOPA is poorly designed by people who may or may not have ever seen the Internet in person, and it's written for 50- to 60-year-old congressmen who almost certainly did not receive it by email. The act won't stop piracy anywhere in the world and in fact might actually encourage it, but I firmly believe that it will absolutely be effective at its secondary secret initiative. In fact I am counting on it.
If SOPA is approved, it would allow businesses to point out the offending "rogue" sites regardless of what country they are in and have them shut down. But it also allows them to point out any site they even suspect might enable or facilitate copyright theft, with the same result. Assuming this isn't your first time on the Internet, then you should already know that includes every site in existence; any website that allows embedded videos, pictures or even hosts a comment section is guilty of enabling or facilitating piracy because that's the nature of the Internet as a whole. The act gives film studios and music executives the power to erase nearly any website they see as a threat to business, putting the task on the owner of the website to prove his or her innocence.
"I saw YouTube out in the woods, infringing."
Naturally, the Internet community has rallied together in opposition. Everyone has given up on fighting one another long enough to attack this bill the only way they know how: By making Hitler videos about it. Everyone, that is, except for me. I'm supporting SOPA and its crafty sister bill, PIPA, because I am not interested in what the future holds for social media or the fate of knowledge, artistic expression or even interpersonal connections around the world. I am interested in revenge.
Four years ago, I wrote an article for an entertainment website on the best film deaths of non-memorable characters. In the very first comment, a gentleman from Australia who evidently disagreed with my assessments encouraged me to fuck myself and called me a "Gaping chick hole." I know he was from Australia because I looked up his IP address. The comment has since been deleted, but the damage was done. I think what hurt most about the whole ordeal was the confusion. While priding myself on sexual competency, I wasn't sure I knew what a chick hole was. I'm still not sure. I'm assuming he meant a vagina, but his insult discounted any of the working pieces. He didn't call me labia or vulva. No, to him I was the nothingness between all the fleshy folds and sensitivities. The hole itself. I was the absence of anything standing between walls of greatness. That hurt, and SOPA represents the first opportunity I have to really make him pay.
"This negative space right here? That's you. Like a tiny vagina ghost."
Thanks to some furious Internet detectiving, I know that he has a blog with its own domain. I won't share the link here, because he doesn't deserve the traffic. All you need to know is that this blog violates several of the rules laid out by SOPA. He has uploaded video from the women's half-pipe competition at the 2010 Olympics, recorded directly from his television, as well as some damning footage of him doing acoustic covers of Linkin Park songs. In addition, throughout all his asinine posts, he refuses to use apostrophes or to capitalize anything, which isn't technically illegal according to the current version of the bill but worth pointing out so you know exactly the kind of asshole we're dealing with.
Yep, now we're on the same page.
Now, for anyone who doesn't understand the ins and outs of SOPA's enforcement policies, let me describe exactly how this will play out in each delicious detail. First, Universal, Disney, Viacom or any of the other entertainment giants would need to be convinced that he is deliberately infringing on their copyrights. This shouldn't be too difficult, because these companies have a long history of misunderstanding exactly what constitutes a threat to their business on the Internet, and because I'm also very persuasive. From there, they can issue court orders to any payment processors or advertisers doing business with his blog. Considering my 15 hate-visits a day probably make up the majority of his traffic, I doubt his website is connected to PayPal or AdSense, so this step technically won't do much except humiliate him, hopefully.
Court orders are also simultaneously sent to search engines, barring them from displaying his blog in their rankings. This will effectively cut off anyone from finding his site or stumbling on it by accident. All his Linkin Park covers will be like angsty, lonely ships adrift out in the broad expanse of the World Wide Web. But, you know, more so than they are now.
"Craaawling in my skiiiin, these wounds th-- aaah forget it."
Finally, the death blow. Court orders sent to his domain registrar would threaten suit if they don't block his subscriber access and take down his website. Within a matter of days, his stupid blog would be erased from the Internet entirely without him ever knowing he had done anything wrong.
I only wish I could be there when he tries to log in to his website for the last time, probably to upload some new video of plagiarized nonsense, and finds everything missing. I'd give anything to see his pale, fat face in the exact moment he realizes that the space he used to occupy online, a space that only belonged to him, has now been replaced by nothing, just a hole. A big empty chick hole in the middle of the Internet, and he will finally understand what it feels like to be defined by absence. I don't think that's asking too much.
Hmmm, too far?
Sadly, all the collective hatred toward SOPA means that it may never see the light of day. Major websites like Reddit are planning site-wide blackouts on January 18 in protest, and Google, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook have already spoken up in opposition. But I only ask that they take a minute to consider my point of view, to see this bill not as a threat but as a weapon. I want everyone to try to imagine just how gratifying it would be to single out the very worst people on the Internet and obliterate their online existence. Think it over. I'll be waiting.