Prof Evans Joins in the Movement to Defeat SOPA/PIPA

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

~Margaret Mead~

Protection or overprotection?

The House of Representatives is currently considering passage of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) introduced by Representative Lamar Smith. A similar bill titled the Protect IP Act (PIPA), introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy, is making its ways through the Senate. Both bills, in my opinion, threaten Internet freedom and should not pass in their present form.If passed and signed by the President into law, such an onerous law could well put publishing freedom severely at risk, and allow copyright holders to, without due process or any consideration of the limitations on copyright, shut down entire sites at the whim of private corporate interests.

Fight for the Future created a fantastic short video explaining things further.

The folks at WordPress.org circulated a missive today (quoted in part below) that informed site owners about the online protest of SOPA/PIPA and invited WordPressers to join in. I will be participating in the SOPA protest on all of my WordPress sites and encourage you to do the same. This site will be blacked out on January 18th and will sport the support ribbon during the full protest (which ends with the vote) so stay tuned and be informed!

On January 18, 2012, sites all over the internet will be blacking out to protest and try to mobilize more people to speak out against this bill coming up in the Senate next week — S. 968: the Protect IP Act (PIPA) — in an attempt to let U.S. lawmakers know how much opposition there is. WordPress.org, Wikipedia, and even WordPress.com VIP I Can Has Cheezburger? will be participating in the blackout to raise awareness and spur you to action.

Here on WordPress.com, we want to participate as well. Freshly Pressed will be blacked out during the strike. Sorry to take away your daily fix of yummy web content, but this bill threatens to do that on a much wider scale. You don’t want that, do you?

More importantly, we are making it possible for you to participate in the protest. There are two options: a “Stop Censorship” ribbon and a full blackout. The blackout portion will be in effect January 18 from 8am to 8pm EST, while the ribbon will be displayed until January 24.

And one last pitch: whatever you decide to do about your site, please take a few minutes to head over to americancensorship.org and take action. It only takes a few moments of your time to be an agent of change!

We are not a small group. More than 60 million people use WordPress — it’s said to power about 15% of the web. We can make an impact, and you can be an agent of change. Go to Stop American Censorship for more information and a bunch of ways you can take action quickly, easily, and painlessly. The Senate votes in two weeks, and we need to help at least 41 more senators see reason before then. Please. Make your voice heard.

Wikipedia, Others fade to black in protest of SOPA and PIPA

As reported by Wiki Media Foundation:

It is the opinion of the English Wikipedia community that both of these bills, if passed, would be devastating to the free and open web.”

On January 16, 2012, the Wikipedia community announced its decision to black out the English-language Wikipedia for 24 hours, worldwide, beginning at 05:00 UTC on Wednesday, January 18 (you can read the statement from the Wikimedia Foundation here).

The blackout is a protest against proposed legislation in the United States—the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECTIP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate—that, if passed, would seriously damage the free and open Internet, including Wikipedia.

This will be the first time the English Wikipedia has ever staged a public protest of this nature and is not done lightly. Dozens of other high-powered sites and thousands more are joining the protest in varied ways to to speak with a collective voice. Read the full announcement