Wikipedia Blackout – For a Free and Open Internet
If you haven’t heard yet, Wikipedia, Reddit, Boing Boing, Craigslist and over 7,000 sites are having a 24 hour black out, or protest of some kind, in the hopes of stopping – SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) – legislation that would cripple the free and open Internet. I think the 24 hour black out by Wikipedia is a great way to inform the public on these pieces of legislation that may be discussed on the floors of congress as soon as next week. SOPA and PIPA are being pushed by Sony, Time-Warner and other studios and large copyright holders, due to rampant piracy. But in the process of trying to fix this problem (it is likely it wouldn’t even do this), according to Wikipedia, the community who has invested over a decade and millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history, these pieces of legislation would threaten the continued existence of Wikipedia and other helpful sites. I believe we should reward artist, which is why I buy my music and movies, but I am also for a free and open Internet. Apparently Hollywood has outspend Silicon Valley about 10 to 1, which is why this legislation is still alive.
While some people are criticizing the Wikipedia’s black out, I think it is an effective way to keep people informed about legislation that could effect us all. According to Professor Rotolo at Syracuse University in New York, “The most troubling aspects of the proposed legislation are the provisions that would allow sites to be shut down if accused of sharing copyrighted information.” While it is important to protect copyrighted information, SOPA “would dramatically change the way the Internet works, and for the first time put the government, and potentially special interest, in control.”
To learn more about the issue, visit Wikipedia and read what they have written, also read up this short but extremely helpful article by Google, and this article at CNET on How SOPA would affect you:FAQ and then join me in writing your Senators and Representatives. If you visit the Wikipedia site and put your zip code in, they will give you links to your Representatives and Senators, to make it easy to write them. Google also has a petition you can sign, it only takes 5 seconds. Craigslist has a list of things you can do. End Piracy, Not Liberty.
[Update] Sounds like our voices are starting to be heard, but we must continue to call and write.