Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Internet Freedom - the SOPA/PIPA protest

Six days ago, over 115,000 websites including Google, Wikipedia, Freethoughtblogs, Craigslist, and many other popular websites "went dark" -- effectively went on strike -- for a 24 hour period to protest the SOPA and PIPA legislation that is being considered by the American government.

We are all connected, and what happens in America affects all of us, as law professor and copyright expert Michael Geist pointed out on his blog, in an article entitled Why Canadians Should Participate in the SOPA/PIPA Protest. From Professor Geist's article:
"...millions of Canadians rely on the legitimate sites that are affected by the legislation. Whether creating a Wikipedia entry, posting a comment on Reddit, running a WordPress blog, participating in an open source software project, or reading a posting on BoingBoing, the lifeblood of the Internet is a direct target of SOPA. If Canadians remain silent, they may ultimately find the sites and services they rely upon silenced by this legislation."

Writer, consultant, and teacher Clay Shirky explains why this legislation is a bad idea even for Americans:

[Thanks to Lorna for pointing out this video]

The day of protest on January 18, 2012 was mildly inconvenient for me, but annoying to many others. That annoyance translated into political action which raised the awareness of American lawmakers and caused the SOPA and PIPA legislation to be withdrawn. But the final point raised by Clay Shirky in the video is still valid -- there will be other attempts in the future to censor and regulate the internet.

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