Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
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Monday, January 16, 2012

If you try to look something up on Wednesday

on Wikipedia, you may see nothing. The company is considering going dark in protest of the Stop Online Privacy Act. Don't know about SOPA? Here are some links to find out more:

Stop Online Piracy Act [The Wikipedia article]

Here is the text for the act: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.3261:

Here is a frequently-asked-questions article from C|Net called How SOPA would affect you: FAQ that's pretty informative and has lots of links.

Here are a couple of news stories related to all this:

Wikipedia May Black out Wednesday in Protest

The Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act pending in Congress are designed to crack down on sales of pirated U.S. products overseas.

Supporters say the legislation is needed to protect intellectual property and jobs. Critics say the legislation could hurt the technology industry and infringe on free-speech rights.

Tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo and others have questioned the legislation and said it poses a serious risk to the industry. Several online communities such as Reddit, Boing Boing and others have announced plans to go dark in protest.

U.S. online piracy bill headed for major makeover
U.S. legislation aimed at curbing online piracy, which had appeared to be on a fast track for approval by Congress, appears likely to be scaled back or jettisoned entirely in the wake of critical comments over the weekend from the White House, people familiar with the matter said.

Also from the article:
The White House said in a blog post over the weekend that it wouldn't support "legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet."

Go educate yourself and make up your own mind about it. Obviously, anything that may limit freedom of expression is of concern to this librarian, but it's a complicated issue. Obviously online piracy is a concern to lots of people from artists, writers, musicians up to the big companies that make a bundle off them. But this doesn't seem to be a good way to go about combating it.

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