Wednesday 18 January 2012

Wikipedia's Protest Against SOPA & PIPA

Wikipedia's Protest Against SOPA and PIPA
In a protest against the proposed SOPA and PIPA bills, Wikipedia has today blacked out the English version of its site for a period of 24 hours. Other major sites have also joined in the protest including Google, who have censored its logo for U.S users and provided a page where people can sign a petition.

The proposed SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) bills are efforts to stop copyright infringement committed mostly by foreign websites. While this sounds good in theory, the way these bills are drafted could actually infringe free expression and severely inhibit people's access to online information. The Internet as you know it today could radically change for the worse, should these legislations be passed.

I was watching the news today and seeing people's reactions to the Wikipedia blackout. Most of the people that were interviewed use Wikipedia daily and were very unhappy because the blackout was causing major disruptions to them and to their work or studies. While this is understandable, what these people may not realise is that if the SOPA and PIPA bills are passed, it will affect everyone around the world. This is not a problem that will solely affect people in the U.S.

I would rather have one day of disruption than to see free expression being infringed, sites being shut down and have limited access to online information. The Internet would radically change and if you think one day of disruption is bad, just imagine having limited or no longer having access to sites such as Wikipedia that we've come to depend on.

You can sign a petition against the proposed SOPA and PIPA bills now by visiting:

UPDATE 9:45pm: The House Judiciary Committee hearing on HR 3261 was scheduled in Washington, DC today but President Barack Obama has stepped in and said he would not support the bill. For now, SOPA has been shelved but it will be looked at again sometime next month. It's reported that the White House will continue to veto this bill or any other bill that's not more narrowly focused.

With SOPA shelved for now, there still remains the PIPA bill, which is scheduled to go before the Senate on Tuesday 24th January. PIPA would censor the web and we can only hope that this too, will be shelved.

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  1. I’ve just signed the online petition. Thanks Derek for supplying the link!

    1. Glad to be of help Kim and thank you for leaving your valued comment.


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