Why we’re supporting the SOPA protest

The n0tice team decided that we should join the SOPA protest.  We’ll be self-censoring the web site on January 18 and blocking our own users from participating.

The full explanation of why we are participating is on the n0tice blog, but here are a few of the excerpts:

We believe the role of law and politics in an open environment like the Internet should not be to create weapons for fighting bad behavior but rather to set boundaries and to mediate acceptable behavior.

Capitalism is an adaptive system, and the TV and music industries will find other ways, perhaps better ways to make money and fund creative works.  There are many models and success stories appearing everywhere including within their own businesses that will help them transition to more network-friendly, digitally sophisticated business models.

They don’t need and shouldn’t have the power to take down an entire web site because of a copyright claim.

Inasmuch as the initial concept for these bills questioned the state of protections for people and businesses on open networks, we are in agreement. We want laws that protect people from harm. We want politicians to raise awareness of threats to civility.

The solution to those problems, as we see it, is about supporting open spaces, protecting open spaces and collectively reinforcing positive behaviors.

I don’t consider myself a very political person.  I take a lot of time to decide what I think about stuff, and I find it difficult seeing any issue through totally black and white lenses.

But I’m conscious that the Internet is going through some difficult growing pains right now, and this issue may reinforce a way of thinking that threatens the founding principles that have made the Internet such a positive force in the world.

Of course, there’s no doubt that the team agreed to support this protest out of self-interest.  The bills are a direct threat to what n0tice and the many services like us are all about.

Plus, sometimes taking sides has other effects.  It’s character-building for a startup like n0tice.  It helps us and our users to understand what our brand means, what really matters to us, who we want to associate with, and why we’re here.

We all felt that this is one of those moments when we could do something very small to help with something very big.  I can’t imagine a better way to frame the n0tice culture.