When I started my Composition II class, and realized the amount of argumentative writing I would be doing, I made a promise to myself that I would write what I know and what I feel strongly about as much as possible. I see this as the only way to write a truly effective argument, at least for me. I decided every paper in which I had the reign to do so would be related somehow to my gaming – either WoW directly, or indirectly through talking about gaming in general or blogging.
We have written several journal entries and papers already. So I thought it might be interesting to post some here – specifically, to start, my first journal entry, which was to be about some topic of argument within our field of study. Well, my field of study is Technical Writing, which includes all forms of business writing, including webpages. It was to be a very short, 1-2 pages, and so it is not fully developed, since it was merely a journal entry and not a full paper.
A piece about internet censorship was born, and marks my first personal piece…
Free Your Web
As a blogger and writer of fan fiction for the game World of Warcraft for the past two years, I starkly remember the terrifying possibilities that were brought to my attention when congress was working to pass both the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect-IP Act (PIPA). I proudly participated in the blackout of January 18th, 2012, to show my disapproval of both along with a long list of websites with far more sway than my tiny blog, including Google, Wikipedia, and Mozilla, among many others.
It is not that I approve of copyright infringement, piracy, or anything else that would take away from the deserving credit and recognition of any artist – writer, actor, singer, etc. What I am against is internet censorship. More specifically, I am against any censorship, and I am against to threats posed to our first amendment rights by such censorship.
The internet is a vast network of innovation, creativity, knowledge, and commerce that has become an integral part of our life. On any given day, I, like many others, visit various sites in search of information for my work, school, and play, as well as products for purchase. The stark reality of a censored internet would be much like the blacked out websites that clouded the internet for that one day a year and a half ago.
SOPA and PIPA had noble intentions. Their goal was to protect “prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of US property.” They were proposed to crack down on pirated movies, songs, and other media. I commend the noble intentions that birthed the acts.
It was the methods of enforcement that were so scary to anyone running a website, using a website, or promoting other websites, companies, or products.
For me, that meant I could have my blog shutdown for posting anything owned by another – which was most everything I posted, considering my subject matter was a game I play! I regularly post pictures and screenshots from World of Warcraft. I talk about characters and classes in the game. I write fan fiction based on lore and characters in the game. I also post material unrelated to World of Warcraft, I often link other articles I find pertinent and YouTube videos for clips and songs I like.
Even scarier than the material I knowingly post, I could be shut down for something that did not even come from my fingers. Anyone who posted a comment or a link on my blog could possibly get me in trouble if they infringed upon the copyrights of another.
The wording of both SOPA and PIPA was broad and vague and scary. It would have given the government the power to sift through and censor the internet as they pleased. They would have had a stranglehold on ISPs and everyone using them. This did not just affect the USA, the wording was specific to include foreign sites infringing upon American copyrights as well.
As if more fear of the government watching your every move was not scary enough, there was such a long list of things that could get a site flagged. Once flagged, you would be shut down. There would be no question of innocent until proven guilty. There would be no trial.
I do a lot of writing, and I value the protection of my rights as a writer. I would not want to be surfing the web and suddenly see a post I have written elsewhere and under someone else’s name – them taking credit for my words. But I also value my first amendment rights. Censoring the internet is no different than censoring anything else and there is no place for that in my mind.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
This paper includes content referring to worlds and characters in World of Warcraft.
Awaiting the Muse by Jamie Roman AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/.