Wikipedia be shutting down its website today(Wednesday) for 24 hours as an act to protest anti-piracy legislation under consideration in Congress, as said by them last Monday. So if you check Wikipedia today it won’t be there.
Its an unprecedented move that brings added muscle to a growing base of critics of the legislation. Wikipedia is considered one of the Internet’s most popular websites, with millions of visitors daily.
“If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open Internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States,” the Wikipedia foundation said.
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a legislation or law that is “designed” to crack down on sales of pirated U.S. products worldwide. Supporters include film and music industry which sees often that their products are sold illegally. They said that it can protect jobs and intellectual properties.
This can go as far as in Brunei Darussalam. So “Communist” and “DeeJay” like shop, you better watch out if this bill is passed.
Critics however said that the legislation could hurt technological, creativity and free speech rights. Its like the wild wild west being condensed with security forces all over controlled by autocrats.
The most controversial law is the House bill which can effectively “blacklist” anyone’s domain name and sue them for “copyright infringement” as what has been done recently for a Sheffield University student.
Silicon valley tech companies such as Google, Facebook, 9GAG, Yahoo, Reddit, Boing Boing, Twitter, eBay, AOL and others who have spoken against SOPA. As this can threaten the industry’s livelihood. All of which are going in a full scale campaign to stop it.
Obama is caught in a dilemma as whether to satisfy the battle of piracy and counterfeiting while defending free expression, privacy, security and innovation in the Internet.
Wikipedia decision is casting all the light across the world and how SOPA can affect each and everyone of us. Even here in Brunei Darussalam.
Over the past few days, a group of more than 1,800 volunteers who work on the site and other users considered several forms of online protest, including banner ads and a global blackout of the site, the foundation said. Ultimately, the group supported the decision to black out the English version of the site.
Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia who first announced the move on his Twitter account Monday, said the bills are a threat to the free, open, and secure web.
Wikipedia is also requesting that readers contact members of Congress about the bill during the blackout.
“I am personally asking everyone who cares about freedom and openness on the Internet to contact their Senators and Representative,” Wales said.”One of the things we have learned recently during the Arab spring events is that the Internet is a powerfully effective tool for the public to organize and have their voices heard.”
This is the first time Wikipedia’s English version has gone dark. Its Italian site came down once briefly in protest to an Internet censorship bill put forward by the Berlusconi government; the bill did not advance.
“Wikipedia is about being open,” said Jay Walsh, spokesman for the Wikimedia foundation. “We are not about shutting down and protesting. It’s not a muscle that is normally flexed.”
Abdul Malik Omar
The AMO Times
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