Local Website Creator Participates in SOPA/PIPA Protest

By Rachel Martin

January 19, 2012 Updated Jan 19, 2012 at 12:08 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Ryan Martin, creator of jammerdirect.com, “blacked out” his website in protest of the SOPA and PIPA legislation proposals.

Notice some major inconvenience surfing some of your favorite websites Wednesday? It likely had to do with an online protest of some pretty important legislation at the National level that affects your computer use. It’s an anti-piracy proposal that opponents say could lead to censorship.

Encyclopedia engine, Wikipedia went "black" Wednesday, and if you Googled anything, you noticed that site with a black band over the logo. This was all in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).

The legislation was first introduced to the US House of Representatives in October 2011 by Republican Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas. If made law, the bills would allow the government and copyright holders, like record labels, the power to regulate or shut-down websites and users who upload or download copyrighted material, such as music or videos. Major social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube could be greatly affected. Offenders could face up to five years in prison.

“You could see people go offline. You could see content disappear,” said Ryan Martin, Fort Wayne native, and creator of jammerdirect.com. “Another thing they could do is order Google to stop things from showing up in search engines, or any search engine.”

Major companies in the cable, movie, and music industries like, Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, Macmillan US, and Viacom, support SOPA and PIPA, as well as companies like Nike and L’Oreal. These proposed bills would protect their products and product income.

Martin joined the 24-hour online protest. Jammerdirect.com is a global-host membership website that promotes unsigned artists across the globe. The site boasts more than a million members from 16 countries that submit artwork, music and videos to their profile network, video channels, and four radio streams. Martin says SOPA and PIPA would destroy his website.

“It's damaging,” Martin said. “It's particularly damaging to nit sites like us because we are for unsigned artists. So, if this bill were to pass we would disappear, and a lot of sites like us, if not every site like us.”

Martin says he’s scheduled conference calls with Rep. Smith and the some of the sponsors of SOPA and PIPA Thursday night. Martin says he plans to air the conference on his radio show, Jammer Stream 1, on Friday. Martin says he wants to know “what’s next?”

“Our goal is to be talking right to the source,” Martin said. “I think SOPA will die out, I think PIPA will die out, but what I’m concerned about is will these appear five to six months from now in Congress under a new form, under a new name?”

Martin considers the 24-hour online “black out” to be a “victory”, but says everyone should gear up for the future and learn about SOPA and PIPA.

“It’s all about learning,” he said. “Education is the weapon and action is the shield.”

Martin encourages jammerdirect.com members and listeners to participate in the conference Thursday night by submitting questions. To learn more, click on “Jammer Direct” under News Links on our homepage.

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