The Collage of Censorship


In the past, censorship occurred nationally or locally. Authoritarian governments or local rulers already controlled, or soon seized hold of, all means of communication beyond that of person-to-person exchange, and frequently quashed such personal communications with the threat of death or imprisonment.  The advent of the Internet, however, promised to change the censorship game forever, by giving the censored and disenfranchised people of the world eyes and ears to see and hear with, and a means and voice to express themselves with, to communicate their concerns, desires, and creativity to others like them across the planet. And the Internet has fulfilled some of that promise: sometimes openly, sometimes by providing alternate underground networks on which to share information. It has transformed person-to-person communication into person-to-people communication. Various governments have tried to censor the Internet more or less successfully by limiting their peoples’ access to it; in most cases, individuals were able to use the “underground” Internet to circumvent censorship.

Geometry of the Floating World CENSORED (2008). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

But now the Internet is facing an unprecedented, worldwide threat: the threat of censorship gone global. In the United States, cooperation between corporate lobbyists and politicians has resulted in proposed Internet-censorship legislation that is now moving ponderously forward like a steamroller through Congress.

Corporate interests — primarily in the motion-picture and music industries, but also including manufacturers of apparel and sportswear, as well as sports leagues — and their supporters in Congress are attacking the freedom of the Internet by seeking to grant the government wide powers of censorship in the name of preventing counterfeiting and theft of intellectual property.

But the laws “Big Content, Inc.” are seeking to have enacted are dangerously over-broad; they target the innocent as well as the guilty, and would violate the guarantees of due process granted by the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, and the free-speech protections of the First Amendment. Large number of innocent websites would face either having to defend themselves against false charges of infringement, or shutting down completely. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube might be forced out of existence, or compelled to become enforcers of censorship for the government. In any case, the free exchange of information on the Internet would be compromised.

The Internet censorship measures proposed by these laws would be ineffective in combating intellectual property theft and piracy, and could even endanger the security of the DNS (Domain Name System), the “phone book” of the Internet that makes it possible for all of us to find one website out of hundreds of millions.

 Censorship of the Internet threatens to bring the United States closer to acting like the authoritarian governments it claims to oppose. Pro-censorship legislators are already advocating the censorship methods of these repressive regimes as models for American censorship of the Internet.

It is imperative that all citizens of the United States contact their legislators in Washington to demand the defeat of all proposed laws that would call for internet censorship.

To learn more about Internet censorship and what you can do to help stop it, please click on the links below, or on the picture above:


The basics of Internet censorship proposals:

The involvement of “Big Content, Inc.” in calling for Internet censorship:

Opposition to Internet censorship efforts:

How censorship will compromise the Internet at home and abroad:

A list of companies supporting Internet censorship (useful for organizing boycotts):

A direct petition to the President, calling for him to veto Internet censorship legislation:!/petition/veto-sopa-bill-and-any-other-future-bills-threaten-diminish-free-flow-information/g3W1BscR


UPDATE (as of 24 December 2011):

The story so far: at this point, the vote on the Stop Online Piracy Act (“SOPA”) in the House of Representatives has been put off until January. The PROTECT-IP Act (“PIPA”) is also showing signs of re-surfacing next month in the Senate, with Majority Leader Senator Reid threatening to bring it up again. Both of these bills promote Internet censorship; if one or the other is enacted, free speech on the Net will have taken a giant step backward. We can’t allow these measures to pass unchallenged.

Thanks very much to everyone who phoned their legislators and the White House, sent e-mails, and signed petitions opposing SOPA and PIPA. Until these pernicious bills are stopped entirely, please DON’T stop doing what you’ve been doing. If you haven’t taken action yet, please do so. These proposed pieces of legislation endanger the freedom of the Internet — not just in America, but around the world — and we do have the power to stop them, but only if  we act together … and NOW.

More and more people and businesses are raising their voices on this issue and coming out against pro-censorship legislation, because they’re realizing that Internet censorship will be bad for the economy and very bad for our country and the world. Please join them.

Please visit the link below to learn about some suggestions for continued action:


(All artwork, descriptions, & other text (except for quotations and links) created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.)

{ 13 comments… add one }

  • Tomas December 21, 2011, 3:19 am

    The Censorship wake up the resistance -guards against falling asleep in self satisfaction and consequently may be defined as the positive perpetual drive that reminds the light and enables the oppressed to search for it in the awareness of being not alone under the sun (list of your links convince in the above) But some forms of the censorship is more than just hard to overcome. That’s the financial censorship that forbids anything (allow everything) but crash Art by Tomas Karkalas with terrible sense of personal needlessness and consequent helplessness. I apologize for such sad “news” and wish you the best – while separate solders may be killed, the light can’t be defeated.

    • Eric Edelman December 21, 2011, 1:37 pm

      Yes, Tomas, you make a good point, which was also the message of the anti-slavery advocate Wendell Philips in the 19th century: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” We cannot automatically assume — EVER — that our freedom of expression will be respected or protected; we must always be alert for threats to it. We need to be eternally vigilant — which fits in well with our missions in art.

  • Erika Price {Linky} December 21, 2011, 6:35 am

    Another thoughtful post – how is your campaign going?

    • Eric Edelman December 21, 2011, 1:32 pm

      Thanks, Erika! Unfortunately, there’s no way to know how it’s going until the measures have been defeated or (*shudder!*) passed in Congress and by the President. But at least more people have become aware of the threat to Internet freedoms. I hope they’ll take action now.

  • Verena December 21, 2011, 3:29 pm

    Thank you so much for your nice comment! I hope you will have a nice Christmas time!

    • Eric Edelman December 22, 2011, 12:50 am

      Thanks very much for your comment and your visit, Verena! I hope your Christmas is nice too!

  • NCSue (I follow back!) December 21, 2011, 7:42 pm

    Thank you for hosting!

    • Eric Edelman December 22, 2011, 12:49 am

      Thanks for your visit and comment!

  • Faythe @ GrammyMouseTails December 21, 2011, 11:55 pm

    Great & informative post, Eric. I find this just another way the US government has been trying to tear apart the constitution and take away any rights we have. It is getting hard to know who is truthful & those who are not. We need to keep on our toes and remember that to keep our freedoms we must have to fight and sacrifice as the many who have done before us.

    • Eric Edelman December 22, 2011, 12:43 am

      Thanks, Faythe. Yes, we do need to fight for our freedom, remembering that it won’t be handed to us on a silver platter. We must assert ourselves & stand up for our rights. I’m glad to know that you and many others will be spreading the word and joining us in this cause. Happy holidays and a Happy, Healthy New Year to you and your loved ones!

  • NCSue (I follow back!) December 27, 2011, 11:11 pm


  • Marie Oster December 30, 2011, 12:14 am

    Thx für Ihren Beitrag, ich habe wirklich genie?en Sie Ihren Blog. Lange Zeit lurker, erstmals Kommentator, Sie kennen den Drill. Ich habe versucht, dieses eine Mal, bevor teilen, wei? ich nicht, dass es richtig geschrieben … hoffentlich wird es dieses Mal!

    • Eric Edelman January 7, 2012, 2:41 am

      Vielen Dank für Ihren Besuch und machen Sie einen Kommentar! Und herzlich willkommen. Ich entschuldige mich, dass ich nicht beantworten Ihren Kommentar früher, es gab Software Probleme mit meinem Blog, das mich vom Sehen der Kommentar erst jetzt verhindert. Bitte kommen Sie oft zurück, um meinen Blog zu besuchen. Ich wünsche Ihnen ein frohes neues Jahr!

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