Join Our Censorship Protest!
If you’ve not heard about the US House of Congress’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and the Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA), then you might be wondering what the black ribbon on the top right of my blog is all about.
Well, follow the link here to read all about how the United States might soon be gaining new powers allowing them to take down web content and interfere with services from one moment to the next, across international borders…and here to read some of the less well-reported technical and cultural implications of such legislation being enacted (this is written by a group of concerned experts). Obviously copyright law is rather complex; not least in relation to the modern, innovative modes of communication which most of us enjoy as a result of the internet. I won’t pretend that I can offer a cutting analysis but the basic message is that governments and corporations should NOT begin to gain tight and potentially damaging controls over the infrastructure and content of the web in the name of protecting outmoded business models. If you want to read the case FOR by the way, this letter from the Motion Picture Association of America and other big entertainment industry groups is interesting reading.
Naturally enough, WordPress is encouraging its users to register their alarm and concern at the negative implications of SOPA and PIPA, which is why I’ve opted for the banner. I doubt that a full blackout of this blog would particularly concern anyone! If you want a real sense of what tight control and regulation of content, links, and payment systems online might mean, take a look at Wikipedia over the next 24 hours. After thousands of their users actively participated in discussions on how the site should react to these proposed legislations, they decided to join the protest whole-heartedly: it’s a bit like the website has encountered its very own Clarence to remind us all why this debate matters. But before anybody says that Wikipedia are all about “open information” and the real power players will approve of the legislation, check out the Google.com homepage:
Okay, I admit to changing the background but the dissent is all their own.