“We’re doing a law firm simulation in class where the students are divided into 5 law firms, maintaining their own websites and blogs and tracking intellectual property issues,” says Associate Professor Tonya Evans of her efforts to use two proposed pieces of legislation – the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House of Representatives and its counterpart in the Senate known as the Protect IP Act (PIPA) – as teachable moments for her students.
Both bills are designed to make it more difficult to sell or distribute a range of copyrighted materials such as movies, television shows, and music, as well as counterfeit goods ranging from pharmaceuticals to watches. The bills have support from both sides of the political spectrum, and the purpose of the legislation is broadly regarded as a worthy goal.
There is, however, strong opposition to the methodology employed in the proposed legislation from a range of technology companies and advocates for Internet freedom, who have serious reservations about the provisions contained within. >> Read the full story
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
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.