wikipedia blackout and SOPA

Despite its many problems, I use wikipedia, a lot.  Too much.  Sure enough, just now I tried to dig something up – and got the wikipedia blackout page.  Given the blackout-  where will we quickly read up on SOPA (or whatever else)?

The SOPA thing is a complicated matter – a fascinating tension between protecting intellectual property and free speech.  At the extreme – should online sites like Pirate Bay (free movies, music and books) be allowed to operate freely?  Few people say “yes” to that one (including Jimmy Wales), so the questions emerge in the gray areas. But SOPA itself is a mess, no question.

Written by teppo

January 18, 2012 at 5:55 am

5 Responses

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  1. “Where will we now quickly read up on SOPA (or whatever else)?”
    Funny you say that. I think this is the strongest part of their protest. People heavily rely on community based websites. SOPA would severely handicap wikipedia in that they would be held responsible for double and triple checking everything posted and referenced. In fact, orgtheory would have to take the same precautions for what people post as comments because in the event there becomes a youtube video posted (or some other copyrighted media) then the owner of the site becomes responsible (or at least this is the way I’ve come to understand it).

    These representatives have been getting tens of thousands of e-mails and phone calls. Other websites including google and reddit are also protesting as well. I think saying only a few people is a huge an understatement. And in terms of them being able to operate freely….why should non-American sites be held to American laws when their country permits it? (in fact Sweden even has a religion now based on file sharing). I actually just read an article about a foreigner who ran a website that only LINKED to a bunch of television shows (he didn’t even host them) and he is being extradited to the US. Seems absurd that anyone should be held to another country’s laws when they aren’t even a citizen of that country.



    January 18, 2012 at 6:35 am

  2. Oh ya, and for the “Where will we now quickly read up on SOPA”
    If you click the “Learn More” link it takes you to the SOPA wikipedia page



    January 18, 2012 at 9:02 am

  3. Even before I moved here to Austin, I joined the Austin Tech Republicans on LinkedIn. I proposed today on both the GoogleGroups and LinkedIn lists that we make intellectual property rights a meeting discussion topic.

    Ideas do not exist freely in nature. But they can be non-rival and non-exclusive. And not every idea has economic value. (That would be the Marxist fallacy of labor-theory.) I believe that too many of our ideas about property and rights to it derive too directly from medieval laws about land.

    Just consider the word “title.” We call real estate real because you cannot take it away and estate because title to it comes from the state. If you changed religions or refused to marry off your daughter, you could lose your title. To me, this does not provide a good set of axioms for thinking about intellectual property.

    If I had to make a decision without facts, I would opt for laissez faire. Best to keep the government out of it. Let the markets decide.


    Michael E. Marotta

    January 18, 2012 at 4:17 pm

  4. […] wikipedia blackout and SOPA ( […]


  5. […] As Teppo noted today, there is now a proposal in Congress that attempts to curb online privacy (“Stop Online Piracy Act”). The goal of fighting piracy is admirable. As a self-publisher of e-content, I enjoy being paid for my work. However, as written, SOPA requires providers to actively monitor all links and be responsible for user behavior. Furthermore, SOPA and a related bill, PIPA, gives various private and public groups the power to essentially censor the internet on the pretext of fighting pirated content. Read the summaries at Wikipedia here and here. […]


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