David A. Wheeler's Blog

Wed, 18 Jan 2012

Stop SOPA and PIPA

Please protest the proposed STOP (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (PROTECT IP Act). The English Wikipedia is blacked out today, and many other websites (like Google) are trying to awareness of these hideous proposed laws. The EFF has more information about PIPA and SOPA. Yes, the U.S. House has temporarily suspended its work, but that is just temporary; it needs to be clear that such egregious laws must never be accepted.

Wikimedia Foundation board member Kat Walsh puts it very well: “We [the Wikimedia Foundation and its project participants] depend on a legal infrastructure that makes it possible for us to operate. And we depend on a legal infrastructure that also allows other sites to host user-contributed material, both information and expression. For the most part, Wikimedia projects are organizing and summarizing and collecting the world’s knowledge. We’re putting it in context, and showing people how to make sense of it. But that knowledge has to be published somewhere for anyone to find and use it. Where it can be censored without due process, it hurts the speaker, the public, and Wikimedia. Where you can only speak if you have sufficient resources to fight legal challenges, or, if your views are pre-approved by someone who does, the same narrow set of ideas already popular will continue to be all anyone has meaningful access to.”

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