Has anyone's usual surfing been disrupted since you logged in this morning? In case you haven't heard or read (everywhere) we are on or in an Occupy style protest on the intertnets.The protest is against a bill called SOPA and a lesser known bill called PIPA, which is an anti-piracy bill put together by a bunch of codgers who want to stop "piracy" on the internetz. Meaning this bill would allow any content maker to shut down any site, forging or domestic.
That means in layman's terns, big corporations like Sony, Warner Bros, or really whomever, can demand a site be shut down without check, balance, or trial.
There are already laws in place for copy right infringement, for instance, you can't just embed a song on your own site, without the copy right owner's consent. What SOPA would do is give more power to "content makers" really the word should be "content owners" to have more power on who and what is posted—anywhere.
The site Reddit probably sums it up best: "[What's wrong with protecting intellectual property?] Nothing! The devil, as they say, is in the details. PROTECT IP and SOPA will cause too much collateral damage, have a high potential for abuse, and won't even be that effective at stopping the crimes they target."
The word "piracy" on the internet as gotten a bad rap since the internet is all about piracy—the fluidity of information—and variants of it, such as aggregating, mash-ups, and basically all the creative weird stuff that happens on youtube.
So in protest so very big sites went dark today, lead by the biggest aggreator or content Wikipedia:
Of course the only page that does work on Wiki is the entry on SOPA, which gives a much more detailed account of the issues at play.
Wordpress also went dark. (And I was supposed to update my sylabi for my classes today... drat.)
Here's Google's contribution to the protest which is really just a wink and a nod. Imagine if they really shut down?
The two largest sites glaringly silent on this protest, Facebook and Twitter. Let's hope they are lobbying behind the scenes.
If you feel so inclined to protect your ability to steal, surf, aggregate, mash-up, or enjoy our last great bastion of democracy, contact your elected Rep. Go to Wikipedia's home page and punch in your zip, you'll then be directed to your congress person's info.