Why Leelanau.com went dark yesterday

Along with many sites on the Web, Leelanau.com went dark on January 18th to protest a pair of truly awful bills that are on a fast-track for passage, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and the Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA).

Neither of these new laws would stop piracy, which we at Leelanau.com are opposed to. Both, however, would put control of online content in the hands of large entertainment corporations and the government, placing a giant burden on web media outlets like Wikipedia, WordPress, YouTube … and even little old Leelanau.com.

With our Leelanau.com, Absolute Michigan and Michigan in Pictures websites all down yesterday, there was some time to think about the issue, and we’d like to share one thought: We live in a world very different from the early 1700s when Parliament enacted the Statute of Anne to address the concerns of English booksellers and printers (you can look it up … for now, on Wikipedia).

We are encouraged at every turn and by every consumer device to sing along to commercials, dance to the latest music and in general, swim in a sea of ever-present media. You can debate the pros and cons of doing that but it seems that expecting our candid videos, blogged observations or FacebookedTM thoughts won’t incorporate background music or samples, brand names is flat-out silly. We need intelligent and well thought out laws that recognize the modern world, and SOPA and PIPA definitely aren’t either of those things.

Click here to watch a short video or read more about this issue and please take a moment to contact your elected officials through the links we provide!

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