It’s time to bring down SOPA and PROTECT IP

Over the last couple of months, we’ve been keeping you up to date on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). While its supporters say that the legislation is needed to safeguard intellectual property rights and protect jobs, SOPA and the PROTECT IP Act (it’s Senate counterpart) would fundamentally change the Internet by censoring websites that purportedly enable copyright infringement or piracy.

There are many who will deny that piracy is a growing problem, but the answer to the problem is not SOPA, PROTECT IP, or any other bill that would promote government censorship of the Internet and, as Mark Lemley, David Levine, and David Post have noted, remove due process protections for sites accused of copyright infringement. These bills would also tinker with DNS filtering, which would block “offending” websites from being accessed by Internet service providers.

As you can imagine, the consequences of these two bills has many websites owners on edge. The prospect of an entire site being essentially wiped off of the web due to a single instance of copyright infringement, even if it’s unintended, has many ready to fight back. That’s why today many big names are either blacking out their sites in protest of SOPA/PIPA — among them are Wikipedia, Reddit, Mozilla, and Others, such as Google, are hoping to educate vistors of the dangers of these two bills.

BREAKING: #Wikipedia to go dark Wed to Protest #SOPA

It’s official, from The Hill:

Wikipedia will blackout on Wednesday to protest two controversial Internet piracy bills, founder Jimmy Wales announced on Twitter Monday.

“Student warning! Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday,” Wales wrote.

The protest will apply only to the English version of the popular online encyclopedia and will last for 24 hours.

Wales estimated that the English Wikipedia receives about 25 million visits per day, but he said the site could receive even more visits during the blackout due to the publicity.

There you have it, folks. Now this protest actually will be effective. 25 million will see that Wikipedia is against SOPA, leading to 25 million who will also be against it. And that’s just a conservative estimate.

The Senate will vote on SOPA’s counterpart January 24. We need to let everyone in the Senate know how bad this bill is—and hopefully, with the weight of Wikipedia behind us, maybe they’ll sit up and take notice.

Wikipedia to go dark to protest #SOPA?

There are very few petitions that I think will actually do something. Usually, I simply don’t bother. Nobody reads them or listens to them. However, there are exceptions, and here is one of them.

Apparently, Wikipedia is considering going dark to protest the censorship monstrosities “Stop Online Piracy Act” and “Protect IP Act,” and DemandProgress has a petition website up where you can pledge to donate $1 if they do go dark, or simply sign a nonmonetary petition to do so. I have pledged the money, not only because I oppose SOPA, but also because I have used Wikipedia a lot over the years, and I would like to give back to that community.

We’ve been over why SOPA is a bad idea here many times. There are sincere technological problems with SOPA, along with political issues. It’s a cure that’s worse than the disease. The backers behind SOPA are pirates themselves. Wikipedia would also not be alone in this, if it does go through. All of these are reasons why we need to do something about this bill, and do it now.

Bill Clinton questions Obama administration move ceding Internet oversight

Bill Clinton wonders whether the Obama administration’s move to cede the United States’ last remaining oversight of the Internet could hurt online freedom should countries with a history of censorship claim a stake in its future.

The former president, speaking last week on a panel at event hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative, said the Internet has “flourished in freedom” under U.S. control, though he favors the theory of a “multi-stakeholder process” that would have oversight of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

“Whatever you believe about what the NSA has done, what the proposals the president’s made to change it, whatever, the Internet has flourished in freedom, and people have had access to it,” said Clinton. “And whether it was trying to keep access open in Iran after their disputed election with the Green Revolution, whether it’s trying to make sure you could use it and people could follow your struggles in driving. We’ve been there on that. Whatever you think is wrong.”

“And all I’m saying is, I understand in theory why we would like to have a multi-stakeholder process, I favor that, I just know that a lot of these so-called multi-stakeholders are really governments that want to gag people and restrict access to the Internet,” he added.

Political Voodoo, Economic Alchemy

When I got the idea to write this article, I thought it would be good to do a little research on alchemy. After a bit of reading from various Wikipedia entries, my favorite source for encyclopedic information, my ignorance on the subject was apparent. However, what I learned only reinforced my premise.

UK Internet Regulatory Agency Blocks Wikipedia [Update]

Over the weekend the United Kingdom’s internet regulatory agency, The Internet Watch Foundation, blacklisted Wikipedia over concerns of “indecent images” of minors under the age of 18. The image is of the album art for a 1976 Scorpions album titled “Virgin Killer”. Beyond the problem of a centralized authority having the fiat power to blacklist sites without court order, this particular case is quite intriguing because while the image itself is quite disgusting, according to Wikimedia Foundation-

“We have no reason to believe the article, or the image contained in the article, has been held to be illegal in any jurisdiction anywhere in the world,”

Comparing National Public Debts

Here is a link to National Public debt on Wikipedia.  With all the bailouts recently I thought it was interesting to compare our debt to other countries.  While we are in the most debt of any industrialized nation (citation needed), we are not the most in debt percentage wise.  Please note that green in this map is not necessarily good, but simply means the GDP to debt ratio is not as high.

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