January 18, 2012, marked an important day for Wikipedia: They shut down their English site for 24 hours. Wikipedia did this in protest of of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) – BTW, I SOOOOOO used Wikipedia for these two link, so if SOPA goes through: bye-bye links.
One thing I found interesting about the Wikipedia Blackout Day yesterday is that it was very well publicized…prior to it actually happening. According to a New York Times article: Professor Wu, of Columbia University,
This is the first real test of the political strength of the Web, and regardless of how things go, they are no longer a pushover.
Professor Wu has a point about the point about how that this is the first real test of the political strength that the World Wide Web has. I think the fact that we are able to Google anything, it really isn’t shocking that the government is trying to end Piracy.
I think that since I am on Student Senate here at Bemidji where I have worked with the administration of BSU, I understand why the government is attempting to pass these pieces of legislation.
Yet, I believe that the negative ramifications are more damaging then doing nothing. All though the bill would make it so that people who violate copyright laws on their websites, the website would be shut down or the people who run the site would be responsible for making sure that copyright laws are followed.
According to a 13 Page PDF I found online at 8:30 pm tonight, there are 15 different companies, 16 Web Founders, two and a half page of Academics and Experts, four Editorial Boards, seven Student Newspapers, and so on are against SOPA and PIPA. Some of the companies and names are of course well known people. Others are less well known. Even so, it isn’t really that surprising that so many people who have some benefit from the way the web is currently operated.
With that said, I think it will be interesting to see what happens. Of course, I know that that writing a blog post won’t make the world’s biggest difference – maybe provide some references for my readers – because I’m kinda sorta using using three pictures that aren’t mine. But that is what bloggers tend to do from time-to-time: they take photos from the web and us the photo in their post.