Baseball Nation And SOPA


Think about the typical internet commenter. Oh, not you. You're special. You've found your way to the Algonquin Roundtable of the sports-loving internet. You're right to feel good about yourself. We still deal with fourth-grade potty humor here, but on a good day it's elevated to a seventh-grade level.

But SB Nation isn't a collection of closed, elitist communities. It's free to anyone, and it represents an open exchange of ideas based on a shared passion for sports. Even hockey. And sometimes, some of those other internet users find their way out of Dark Territory and mingle with you.

Maybe one day, one of those internet-using goofs figures out how to do something awful -- maybe they figure out where to find an illegal stream of a sporting event. Instead of getting a digital signal sent to an electronic contraption where they can watch the game, they get a digital signal sent to an unapproved electronic contraption where they can watch the game. And before society collapsed because of their actions, they might post a link on Baseball Nation.

hey check out this stream its the homer derby in rel time lol

And now because of that, Baseball Nation could be shut down. Poof. Prior restraint and everything. From the official Vox Media statement on SOPA:

Vox Media may find our domain names to be the subject of an in rem lawsuit as a result of users posting unlawful video clips. We may find that payment providers proactively turn off payment accounts for any sites that have been the subject of a recent copyright claim, however frivolous. We may find that a service provider decides to redirect our domain names away from our content as a knee-jerk reaction to a single unsubstantiated complaint.

If SOPA is enacted into law, what would be the consequences for a forum like this one? Would Baseball Nation need to have every comment wait for moderation before it becomes live on the site? If so, we'd almost certainly miss out on passionate 663-comment debates that are fostered and encouraged by the auto-refreshing comments here. But if there's a chance that one of those instant comments contains a link to a torrent, streaming video site, or hosted illegal video, it wouldn't be worth it. That conversational feel would be lost -- a casualty in the War on Copyright Abuse, which is just as likely to work as that War on Drugs that eliminated illegal narcotics for good.

So for these reasons, Baseball Nation stands behind the official Vox Media position. Well, we're not sure about Sullivan. He's kind of a nihilist. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of being a Mariners fan, dude, at least it's an ethos. The rest of us encourage you to read the official Vox Media statement, and think about SOPA and PIPA. If there's something you can do -- even if it's as small as e-mailing or calling your U.S. representative -- do it.

Copyright laws are important. They help reward artists and authors for their work, which in turn helps foster creativity and output. But try again, lawmakers. This bill is kind of a turd.

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