I suppose you have been to Wikipedia today only to find that it takes you to a site informing you about SOPA and PIPA, bills before our legislature right now that will forever change the way we see the internet.
I spent 5 weeks in China, who use the same internet filtering and blocking technology that is proposed by these bills. I can tell you that if the Chinese government do not want their citizens to see a website, it does not exist. I understand that we should be cracking down on internet piracy. I would not want my books downloaded for free without my knowledge. I barely make any money on them as it is. However, if these bills pass as written, they may affect the self-publishing industry in a massive way.
First of all, check out this blog entitled 15 Resources to Tell You Everything You Need to Know About SOPA. The author gives a very detailed breakdown about how this proposed law would affect the industry, and that it is nothing more than a ploy by hollywood to become the gatekeepers again for all media produced in this country.
You can read the law for yourself here. As it reads, if someone (who doesn’t have to have any proof at all) thinks that the content in my e-novel is copyrighted material, they report me and Amazon or Smashwords or Nook have to take down my book. I then have to spend huge money going to court to prove that it is indeed my own work. The jerk who accuses me doesn’t even have to show up!
The Watershed Chronicle has three very good reasons why this will affect the self-publishing industry to add to the horror story. If we do not speak out, we will never be heard. Hollywood is trying to take our rights away by censoring us with a bill that is poorly written and that does not take into account that there are thousands of independent authors out there who will be affected in a negative way.
If you want to add your website to the growing number of protestors, follow this link. If nothing else, write an e-mail to Congress and let your voice be heard. Don’t wake up one morning and discover that your e-novel that you worked so hard to write, edit, produce, market and publicize was taken down because some unfounded yahoo thought it resembled his or hers!