SOPA/PIPA, or Why You Can't Access Wikipedia Today
January 18, 2012
You might have noticed that Wikipedia and many other websites are unavailable today as a protest against pending legislation in Congress known as SOPA/PIPA (Stop Online Piracy Act, H.R. 3261, Protect IP Act, S. 968). Many other websites are putting their opposition to SOPA/PIPA at the top of their pages. What is going on here? Briefly put, many creators and owners of intellectual property support these bills as a way to fight online piracy, while critics maintain that these bills would effectively cripple the free flow of information on the Internet.
I am not going to tell you what I think about SOPA/PIPA here. What I am going to tell you to do is to research this for yourselves, and take action based on that research. Thanks to the Internet and the World Wide Web, you have an ocean of information at your fingertips. This is the crux of the SOPA/PIPA debate: How do we protect intellectual property rights while preserving the freedom of speech and the availability of information in a digital world where every copy of a work is a potential master copy? How can we prevent online piracy without stifling creativity? Is the traditional idea of copyright even workable in the digital era? These are very deep and contentious issues with valid points on all sides.
Here are some resources to get you started:
My generation laid the technological groundwork for the digital world we now live in. Your generation will determine HOW we live in this new digital world. Thanks to the Internet, contacting your Senators and Representatives in Congress and telling them how you feel about important legislation like SOPA/PIPA is easier than ever. History is being made here. You should be a part of it.