SOPA reminds me of project we code named as SOPA while I was working at Satyam Computer Services Ltd. And PIPA reminds me of PIPPA Middleton and her famous bottom. But SOPA and PIPA are in news for a different reason. Wikipedia blacked out, Google covered its logo with black strip to mark their protest against SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protection of IP Act), but the world did not come to a standstill. Life went on as normal; we lived to see another day.
Everyone except for US Senate, and probably the bleeding music industry is against SOPA and PIPA, because everyone feels that it would curtail their freedom and right to express their views. Though the bills are supposed to be introduced in US senate, it would affect everyone across the globe, since internet cannot be confined to geographies.
I was not surprised to see that the blackening out happened in US and not in India. I do not think Indians can afford to or are even willing to black out. We are concerned about our freedom of expression but deep down we know that come what may we can get around any bill, bypass any laws, have a workaround ready, juggad in place to tackle any such situation. We know no one can stop us bantering on politics, current affairs, cricket at a pan shop or at a ‘tapri’ while drinking tea.
These bills are just another reason for us to use our freedom of expression by talking about it on social networks. I wonder what the term “freedom of expression” means to us, us collectively as Indian citizens.
Many of my relatively young friends use the F word with such an ease in their talks, on their status updates on Facebook that it makes me think, is fuck synonym to freedom?
I had a subject called as ‘Civics’ in my school curriculum and it talked about our duties and our rights. I remember my school teacher beautifully put it into the words that, “We should exercise our rights only when we are performing all our duties properly.” Duties should come before rights. I wonder how many of us even know that with the 6 fundamentals rights that the constitution gives us it also includes a set of 10 duties that a citizen requires to perform in order to help his/her country to grow and prosper.
I feel that we talk, write, blabber, and complain a lot. Social media such as Facebook, twitter, orkut and blogs have helped many shy people come out of their shell and talk anonymously or even openly. We are tapping the full potential of social media to complain, but not to bring about a change. The action is missing. And now people are scared that SOPA, PIPA or any other such bill which helped them come out of shell may put them back.
It is time now to perform our duties, before exercising or even before complaining about our rights.
P.S: Even wordpress has blacked out: