Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wikipedia May Go Blank in Protest Against Bill

There is an odious piece of legislation called SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) being pushed in Congress right now that jeopardizes a large amount of the Web. Wikipedia is considering blanking their pages in protest of this corporate paid for bill. Intellectual property (IP) rights have gotten out of hand as failing movie and music industries try to stem the bleeding in lost profits. Instead of blaming their very poor products for the decline, they would like to censor the entire Internet in pyrrhic fashion thinking it would up sales.

While legislation against pirate sites is a reasonable goal, this implementation is dangerously excessive. Wikipedia would go under due to it and many a blog would as well. Linking to photos, pictures, and articles would be potentially criminal under this law. That kind of kills the whole concept of the Web, doesn’t it?

It is not the only attack on freedom of speech online. A recent ruling against a blogger by an Obama appointee is a direct attack on the idea of the “citizen journalist” that has flourished on the Net. Not a good precedent, but one I had been expecting for some time. The desire to control others gets stronger the bigger a government gets.

I can only hope this bill fails, for it will be a disaster for free speech not just in the United States.

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