Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wikipedia Protests SOPA / PIPA

On January 18, 2012, the Wikipedia community is blacking out millions of articles of content in the English version for 24 hours to protest pending US legislation: the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). The decision to withdraw content was made by the global community of Wikipedia editors and is supported by the Wikimedia Foundation, which is the non-profit organization that operates Wikipedia and numerous related projects.

Wikipedia is urging US constituents to contact their elected representatives and voice their opposition to the two acts now under consideration in the House of Representatives and Senate. Wikipedia states further that:

SOPA and PIPA cripple the free and open internet. They put the onus on website owners to police user-contributed material and call for the blocking of entire sites, even if the links are not to infringing material. Small sites will not have the sufficient resources to mount a legal challenge. Without opposition, large media companies may seek to cut off funding sources for small competing foreign sites, even if big media are wrong. Foreign sites will be blacklisted, which means they won't show up in major search engines.

In a post SOPA/PIPA world, Wikipedia --and many other useful informational sites-- cannot survive in a world where politicians regulate the Internet based on the influence of big money in Washington. It represents a framework for future restrictions and suppression. Congress says it's trying to protect the rights of copyright owners, but the "cure" that SOPA and PIPA represent is much more destructive than the disease they are trying to fix.

To learn more about SOPA/PIPA, click here.

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