If you attempt to visit Wikipedia today (or Google, or WordPress, or I Can Has Cheezburger, or any number of other participating websites), you won’t be able to miss the blackout.
What is it?
The blackout is a protest against censorship on the internet. The proposed legislation of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) is an attempt to decrease or halt illegal distribution of copyrighted materials, which sounds okay that way.
Here’s why this legislation is bad.
These two acts attempt to enforce anti-piracy laws by punishing average users instead of going to the sources of the problems. Under this legislation, even linking to a site that has violated copyright laws can get your website banned and your domain blocked. If you don’t know, a domain is the address of your website, like wordpress.com, or emmiemears.com.
With this new legislation, linking to copyrighted content can land you in jail for five years. It’s feasible that sites that host user content, like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Etsy, Flicker, and Vimeo could experience massive censorship — and some could even shut down.
The internet is a venue for the free exchange of information and a place of free speech. In trying to clamp down on piracy, the proposed legislation would effectively censor websites that it deemed responsible for copyright infringement — making the website liable for user-posted content.
What does that mean? It means if you infringed on copyright law by say, plagiarizing an article on Facebook, Facebook would be held responsible. That’s just a for instance.
Essentially, SOPA and PIPA are the equivalent of trying to kill a cockroach in New York City by nuking Manhattan — they might get the cockroach, but at what price?
At what cost liberty? At what price security? I believe that the solution to stopping the law breaking of some is not to gag millions. I will always reject censorship.
Find out if your congresspeople and senators support SOPA/PIPA. Call them and make it known that you will not stand for it. Raise your voice in defense of free speech and the free flow of information.
- SOPA / PIPA Blackout (stumbledownunder.com)
- Wikipedia, WordPress & 1,500+ Sites to Blackout Tomorrow in Protest: SOPA/PIPA (hudsonhorizons.com)
- Wikipedia blackout over SOPA and PIPA online piracy bills (dailymail.co.uk)
- Stop Online Piracy Act (wikipedia.org)