The MoCo Football Blackoutby MoCoFootball Staff on 01/19/12
In case you weren't aware, The United States Congress is set on voting two bills on January 24 that could negatively impact websites such as ours.
The Stop Online Piracy Act and (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) meant to do right; to prevent the illegal distribution of movies / music / books / photo / content and to protect the rights of those who created them. But the bills were vague and flawed. The bills allows for the government to blacklist websites that link to any property (i.e. videos, music, photos, etc) deemed unregistered. They'll essentially be policing the world wide web to show only what they see fit for the people to see.
We at mocofootball.com hold strict rules on outside content being shared on our forum and we are huge on giving credit where it is due. Our main man Jack Toomey does a great job with keeping our users in check with user-submitted media content.
We are also aware of the material, content, and alerts taken from our site by local news media without giving us credit (they know who they are; they're reading this now). We'll brush off the urge to fight back simply because that is just the nature of having an open and free site. Our very own users themselves brought this to our attention and are very well aware of this practice. You guys rock.
Since sites such as mocofootball.com thrives on user-contributed content, it becomes a prime target for blacklisting. With only three moderators to police some 13,700 visitors a week in the thick of the season; we do not stand a chance.
Popular sites such as Wikipedia, Google, YouTube, WordPress, Reddit among others opposed to the bills imposed a, "blackout" on Wednesday January 18 as a show of protest. MoCoFootball.com joined in the 24-hour blackout as well and provided links to our state's representatives urging them to vote "no" on the proposals. The representatives' contact information are provided at the bottom of this message. You gotta admit, the site looked pretty bad a-- in a lot of black and some silver (just staying true to my roots).
According to Wikipedia, the number of people in congress opposing the bills have increased drastically in the past 24 hours and a "win for the internet" is actually possible. The fight has not been won and people are encouraged to be headstrong in sending our representatives emails, calls, and visits to keep them aware of our stand on keeping the internet free.
Despite having virtually no content but a video and a few links explaining the impacts of PIPA/SOPA, mocofootball.com actually recorded the most visits on the site for the month of January! Many of you as well looked to have gone on to facebook and twitter to spread the word on the importance of why the bills should be stopped. For that, we salute you!
A lot of great things are in store for our fans. I've been working on improving certain pages on our website particularly the team pages. I wish I could say more, but I am in its experimental stages, details will come in an email in the future. Don't be surprised to see me at your local library studying up on some football history that will serve beneficial for our site!
Some more help is on the way as well and we'll be making an announcement on what we plan on doing for the upcoming season that should make your visit on our site, fulfilling. Thank you for your ever-hardy support of our online community. MoCo Proud.
keep sending those messages to congress!
Rep. Christopher Van Hollen [D, MD-8]
Phone: 202-225-5341 | Twitter: @ChrisVanHollen
Sen. Barbara Mikulski [D, MD]
Phone: 202-224-4654 | Twitter: @SenatorBarb
Sen. Benjamin Cardin [D, MD]
Phone: 202-224-4524 | Twitter: @SenatorCardin