If you’re like me, you’ve already seen this message today: “Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge.” Wikipedia is observing a “black out” today in order to raise awareness about SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). SOPA (I know it’s a Wikipedia link, but it still works) and its sister bill, PIPA, are currently in consideration in the house and Senate at different stages.
The proposed bills’ goals are to crack down on censorship and further combat copyright infringement. But it’s not the goals that Wikipedia and IdeaScale (and many other companies) find so menacing – it’s the language. The language is pretty murky and borders on encouraging censorship. It’s not something that most of the tech industry can get behind (including big names like Google and Facebook), since it basically misunderstands the power and purpose of the internet. And that includes IdeaScale – sure we want Hollywood to be able to reward its content creators fairly, but not at the cost of freedom of information. In any case, it is a bill that likely needs to revisit its composition before it can be assured of support.
Even if you weren’t thinking about SOPA before, it probably hit your radar today when Wikipedia went black. Wikipedia is the 5th most popular website in the world with over 398 million unique visitors in ONE MONTH – available in over 270 languages. I’m sure a few folks contacted their representatives today when they hit the Wikipedia black out. What remains to be seen is how the government will respond. In any case, IdeaScale joins Wikipedia in opposing SOPA. For a good, short article that goes over the basics about SOPA and PIPA, click here.
What is the path to battling overseas copyright infringement? What are your thoughts on SOPA and PIPA?