Thursday, January 19, 2012

Stoppa SOPA

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Congress learned Wednesday what the Arab Spring showed governments across the Middle East and Northern Africa last year—the power of social media, which may have stopped SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Internet Property Act) dead.

Internet Flexes Political Muscles

“Wikipedia, the world’s free online encyclopedia, went dark on Wednesday and other Internet players including Google put black censorship bars on portions of their websites in protest of pending U.S. legislation designed to curb online piracy. . . Internet companies aim to get U.S. lawmakers to back off of bills designed to shut down access to overseas websites that traffic in stolen content or counterfeit goods.

“Internet players argue the bills would undermine innovation and free speech rights and compromise the functioning of the Internet. ‘Something this big—which looks to be the largest and most prolific online protest ever in the short history of the Internet—that's bound to get the attention of lawmakers across the board,’ said Jeffrey Silva, an analyst at Medley Global Advisors.” (Reuters)

CBS: “Yesterday’s Internet-wide protest may not have killed Congress’s anti-piracy efforts completely, but a lot of legislators (including some co-sponsors) suddenly can’t run away from the bills fast enough. According to Ars Technica’s count, 18 Senators, mostly Republican, have withdrawn their support for the Protect IP Act in the last 24 hours, including seven former co-sponsors.” (CBS)

BBC: “‘More than 162 million people saw our message asking if you could imagine a world without free knowledge,” Wikipedia posted. You said no. You shut down Congress’s switchboards. You melted their servers. “From all around the world your messages dominated social media and the news. Millions of people have spoken in defence of a free and open Internet.’

“Elsewhere, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg deemed the occasion worthy enough to post his first tweet in almost three years.

“‘Tell your congressmen you want them to be pro-Internet,’ he wrote, linking to a longer statement on Facebook.

“He continued: ‘We can’t let poorly thought out laws get in the way of the Internet’s development.

“‘Facebook opposes Sopa and Pipa, and we will continue to oppose any laws that will hurt the Internet.’” (BBC)

Editorial Comment: Don’t mess with my Wikipedia!

Related: Useful video explaining proposed laws.

Share the WORD: Today’s WORD on SOPA. Click here.

Fact-Check: Did you miss yesterday’s WORDs from New York Times public editor Arthur Brisbane? Click here.

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