You’ve probably seen the acronym SOPA (and its equally unattractive sibling, PIPA) around the social web. This Stop Online Piracy Act, written with the intent of more vigorously protecting copyright on the internet, mainly serves the giant music and entertainment companies that want to come down harder on file sharing and the theft of copyrighted materials (Napster, anyone?).
Many influential companies are opposed to this threat, so much so that Wikipedia has announced its plan for a 24-hour blackout this Wednesday to protest. The English version of Wikipedia will reportedly be replaced with a call to action for people to write and call Congress. Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, states, “Today Wikipedians from around the world have spoken about their opposition to this destructive legislation. This is an extraordinary action for our community to take – and while we regret having to prevent the world from having access to Wikipedia for even a second, we simply cannot ignore the fact that SOPA and PIPA endanger free speech both in the United States and abroad, and set a frightening precedent of Internet censorship for the world.”
The White House released this statement in regards to the SOPA upheaval: “[The White House] will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risks, or undermines the dynamic innovative global internet.” That’s not to say President Obama will veto the bill if it is passed through Congress, but we’ll give him a shout out for his diplomatic efforts.
Please heed this warning, and get all of your research homework done before midnight on Wednesday. The small silver lining? Wednesday night bar trivia has never been more fair.