A Short Poem about S.O.P.A

With sincere apologies to Martin Niemölle, and in no way meaning to diminish the seriousness of its original subject, I offer this short remix, prompted most recently by SOPA:

First they came for the file sharers,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a file sharer.

Then they came for the free content creators,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a free content creator.

Then they came for the political activists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a political activist.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

I know, I know, this seems like just so much hyperbole and overreaction. Just call me Cassandra. But only if you really believe that things like SOPA and Canada’s Bill C-11 (formerly C-32) or the DCMA or ACTA or… are the ultimate battlefield. They are not. They are simply initial skirmishes in a much large battle about CONTROL and FREEDOM, not just of what you watch or read, but what you are allowed to do. More hyperbole, you think. Well, I URGE you to watch Corey Doctorow’s keynote at the 28C3, “The Coming War on General Computing,” which does as good a job as any in explaining how big the stakes are here.

This is difficult to explain to many people as it seems arcane, philosophical, excessively technical and geeky. Yet don’t we already see all around us expressions (albeit incredibly tepid ones) of the extent to which technological wherewithal is now a core “21st Literacy.” Get used to it – like Lessig said, “Code is Law,” and unless we start to engage with these “arcane” technical issues, we will be the ones being programmed. – SWL

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A Short Poem about S.O.P.A

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