Academic Technology @ Palomar College

Free Knowledge Blacked Out

Today (January 18, 2012), in protest over pending legislation in Congress, the SOPA and PIPA bills, the giant, free information sources of the Internet–those  enterprises we trust most: Wikipedia, Mozilla, Google, WordPress; and some lesser lights, like Wired and Boing Boing (over 7000 sites, actually), are “going dark” today in protest.  Going dark means anything from displaying a notably censored front page to withholding service altogether.  Wikipedia took the strongest action, darkening its English language site and replacing it with a form to look up your representatives in Congress with links to their contact forms.  The most positive outcome possible is for citizens to take advantage of this form and actually write their representatives with concerns about censorship and the restriction of the free flow of ideas on the Internet.

Wikipedia Blackout

Now that we have a vibrant and free Internet, do not let it be ruined by the greed of corporate entities in the U.S.  Piracy is a real problem, but ought to be addressed by legislation aimed at companies that provide pay services for offshore pirates, like Visa, Pay Pal, etc. or advertisers who support these sites.  Dry up their funding and means of doing business, put pressure on foreign governments (actions that were effective in suppressing allofmp3, in the day) but do not use an ax, like SOPA and PIPA, which would put in peril what we value most about the Internet and make it nearly impossible for large, free purveyors of information to operate, where a scalpel is needed.

One Response to “ “Free Knowledge Blacked Out”

  1. Kelly says:

    There is nothing more you can do to regulate the internet that hasn”t already been done, without suffering even more casualties. Hell, the laws already in place are abused quite frequently as-is and videos and music get yanked down all the time because of false ownership claims. I”m not sure how changing the delivery method of television can be compared in any way to restricting the internet, but I can assure you that legislation is not what we need. But since the corporate interests that be have made it their last dying wish to pass SOPA and PIPA, we will see which way things go.

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