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JFK Research on Wednesday


John Simkin
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Wikipedia plans to take its English-language site offline on Wednesday as part of protests against proposed anti-piracy laws in the US.

The sites' webmasters are opposed to the Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (Pipa) being debated by Congress.

Wikipedia's founder, Jimmy Wales, told the BBC: "Proponents of Sopa have characterised the opposition as being people who want to enable piracy or defend piracy.

"But that's not really the point. The point is the bill is so over broad and so badly written that it's going to impact all kinds of things that, you know, don't have anything to do with stopping piracy."

Sopa's supporters in the House of Representatives say the legislation is designed to stop revenue flowing to "rogue websites". It would give content owners and the US government the power to request court orders to shut down sites associated with piracy.

It means that on Wednesday researchers can get Wikipedia-free information on the JFK assassination.

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Wikipedia plans to take its English-language site offline on Wednesday as part of protests against proposed anti-piracy laws in the US.

The sites' webmasters are opposed to the Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (Pipa) being debated by Congress.

Wikipedia's founder, Jimmy Wales, told the BBC: "Proponents of Sopa have characterised the opposition as being people who want to enable piracy or defend piracy.

"But that's not really the point. The point is the bill is so over broad and so badly written that it's going to impact all kinds of things that, you know, don't have anything to do with stopping piracy."

Sopa's supporters in the House of Representatives say the legislation is designed to stop revenue flowing to "rogue websites". It would give content owners and the US government the power to request court orders to shut down sites associated with piracy.

It means that on Wednesday researchers can get Wikipedia-free information on the JFK assassination.

Issa had scheduled a hearing on this legislation but has now postponed it.

2157 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, DC 20515

PHONE: (202) 225-5074 FAX: (202) 225-3974

Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 | HOME

Issa: Flawed SOPA Bill Not Headed to House Floor OGR hearing planned for Wednesday postponed following assurances, removal of DNS provisions Washington, DC – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa today announced that ahearing scheduled for Wednesday, which was to examine the impact of Domain Name Service (DNS) and search engine blocking on the Internet, has been postponed following assurances that anti-piracy legislation will not move to the House floor this Congress without a consensus. "While I remain concerned about Senate action on the Protect IP Act, I am confident that flawed legislation will not be taken up by this House. Majority Leader Cantor has assured me that we will continue to work to address outstanding concerns and work to build consensus prior to any anti-piracy legislation coming before the House for a vote," said Chairman Issa. "The voice of the Internet community has been heard. Much more education for Members of Congress about the workings of the Internet is essential if anti-piracy legislation is to be workable and achieve broad appeal." "Earlier tonight, Chairman Smith announced that he will remove the DNS blocking provision from his legislation. Although SOPA, despite the removal of this provision, is still a fundamentally flawed bill, I have decided that postponing the scheduled hearing on DNS blocking with technical experts is the best course of action at this time. Right now, the focus of protecting the Internet needs to be on the Senate where Majority Leader Reid has announced his intention to try to move similar legislation in less than two weeks." Chairman Issa intends to continue to push for Congress to heed the advice of Internet experts on anti-piracy legislation and to push for the consideration and passage of the bipartisan OPEN Act, which provides an alternative means for protecting intellectual property rights without undermining the structure and entrepreneurialism of the Internet. Learn more about Rep. Issa and Sen. Ron Wyden's alternative the OPEN Act at www.keepthewebopen.com

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What you are getting on Wikipedia pages today:

Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge

For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia.

You can then go to another page:

Why is Wikipedia blacked-out?

Wikipedia is protesting against SOPA and PIPA by blacking out the English Wikipedia for 24 hours, beginning at midnight January 18, Eastern Time. Readers who come to English Wikipedia during the blackout will not be able to read the encyclopedia: instead, you will see messages intended to raise awareness about SOPA and PIPA, and encouraging you to share your views with your elected representatives, and via social media.

What are SOPA and PIPA?

SOPA and PIPA represent two bills in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate respectively. SOPA is short for the "Stop Online Piracy Act," and PIPA is an acronym for the "Protect IP Act." ("IP" stands for "intellectual property.") In short, these bills are efforts to stop copyright infringement committed by foreign web sites, but, in our opinion, they do so in a way that actually infringes free expression while harming the Internet. Detailed information about these bills can be found in the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act articles on Wikipedia, which are available during the blackout. GovTrack lets you follow both bills through the legislative process: SOPA on this page, and PIPA on this one. The EFF has summarized why these bills are simply unacceptable in a world that values an open, secure, and free Internet.

Why is this happening?

Wikipedians have chosen to black out the English Wikipedia for the first time ever, because we are concerned that SOPA and PIPA will severely inhibit people's access to online information. This is not a problem that will solely affect people in the United States: it will affect everyone around the world.

Why? SOPA and PIPA are badly drafted legislation that won't be effective in their main goal (to stop copyright infringement), and will cause serious damage to the free and open Internet. They put the burden on website owners to police user-contributed material and call for the unnecessary blocking of entire sites. Small sites won't have sufficient resources to defend themselves. Big media companies may seek to cut off funding sources for their foreign competitors, even if copyright isn't being infringed. Foreign sites will be blacklisted, which means they won't show up in major search engines. And, SOPA and PIPA build a framework for future restrictions and suppression.

Does this mean that Wikipedia itself is violating copyright laws, or hosting pirated content?

No, not at all. Some supporters of SOPA and PIPA characterize everyone who opposes them as cavalier about copyright, but that is not accurate. Wikipedians are knowledgeable about copyright and vigilant in protecting against violations: Wikipedians spend thousands of hours every week reviewing and removing infringing content from the site. We are careful about it because our mission is to share knowledge freely with people all over the world. To that end, all Wikipedians release their contributions under a free license, and all the material we offer is freely licensed. Free licenses are incompatible with copyright infringement, and so infringement is not tolerated.

Isn't SOPA dead? Wasn't the bill shelved, and didn't the White House declare that it won't sign anything that resembles the current bill?

No, neither SOPA nor PIPA are dead. On January 17th, SOPA's sponsor said the bill will be discussed in early February. There are signs PIPA may be debated on the Senate floor next week. Moreover, SOPA and PIPA are just indicators of a much broader problem. We are already seeing big media calling us names. In many jurisdictions around the world, we're seeing the development of legislation that prioritizes overly-broad copyright enforcement laws, laws promoted by power players, over the preservation of individual civil liberties. We want the Internet to be free and open, everywhere, for everyone.

Aren’t SOPA/PIPA as they stand not even really a threat to Wikipedia? Won't the DNS provisions be removed?

SOPA and PIPA are still alive, and they’re still a threat to the free and open web, which means they are a threat to Wikipedia. For example, in its current form, SOPA would require U.S. sites to take on the heavy burden of actively policing third-party links for infringing content. And even with the DNS provisions removed, the bill would give the U.S. government extraordinary, ambiguous, and loosely-defined powers to take control over content and information on the free web. Taking one bad provision out doesn't make the bills okay, and regardless, Internet experts agree they won't even be effective in their main goal: halting copyright infringement. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a really great post about some of the more dangerous SOPA and PIPA provisions.

What can users outside of the U.S. do to support this effort?

Readers who don't live in the United States can contact their local State Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or similar branch of government. Tell them that you oppose the draft U.S. SOPA and PIPA legislation, and all similar legislation. SOPA and PIPA will have a global effect - websites outside of the U.S. would be impacted by legislation that hurts the free and open web. And, other jurisdictions are grappling with similar issues, and may choose paths similar to SOPA and PIPA.

Is it still possible to access Wikipedia in any way?

The Wikipedia community, as part of their request to the Wikimedia Foundation to carry out this protest, asked us to ensure that we make English Wikipedia accessible in some way during an emergency. The English Wikipedia will be accessible on mobile devices and smart phones. You can also view Wikipedia normally by completely disabling JavaScript in your browser, as explained on this Technical FAQ page.

I keep hearing that this is a fight between Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Is that true?

No. Some people are characterizing it that way, probably in an effort to imply all the participants are motivated by commercial self-interest. But you can know it's not that simple, because Wikipedia has no financial self-interest here: we are not trying to monetize your eyeballs or sell you products. We are protesting to raise awareness about SOPA and PIPA solely because we think they will hurt the Internet, and your ability to access information. We are doing this for you.

In carrying out this protest, is Wikipedia abandoning neutrality?

We hope you continue to trust Wikipedia to be a neutral informational resource. We are staging this blackout because, although Wikipedia’s articles are neutral, its existence actually is not. For over a decade, Wikipedians have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Wikipedia's existence depends on a free, open and uncensored Internet. We are shutting Wikipedia down for you, our readers. We support your right to freedom of thought and freedom of expression. We think everyone should have access to educational material on a wide range of subjects, even if they can’t pay for it. We believe people should be able to share information without impediment. We believe that new proposed laws like SOPA and PIPA (and other similar laws under discussion inside and outside the United States) don’t advance the interests of the general public. That's why we're doing this.

What can I read to get more information?

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Well, there's no mention of one of the bill's primary sponsor's Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Information Policy Committee, who had scheduled a public hearing on this very subject today, but suddenly cancelled - or rather postponed (I bet it never happens) - the hearing at the last minute.

This is the same person and the same committee who is responsible for the oversight of the JFK Act, but has failed to hold a hearing on the matter in 15 years, and has so far ignored our requests for a public overisght hearing to determine why so many JFK assassination records have been destroyed, gone missing or are still being withheld despite the JFK Act law.

James Douglas, author of JFK & the Unspeakable, at a Dallas COPA conference two years ago, said that in order to get a JFK Act Oversight Hearing we would have to generate as much public support as that which got the JFK Act passed in the first place - which means we must reach the mainstream audience that Oliver Stone's JFK movie reached, and make the issue NEWS - so it is in every newspaper, TV and radio news cast and internet news site in the USA.

Are the two issues related? They are targeting the same person and small committee - Issa and Oversight - the same guys we are targeting.

Does the internet censorship of copyrighted material relate to the government's refusal to release JFK assassination records even though Congress passed a law ordering it to do so?

What can we do to get the subject of releasing the JFK Assassination records back in the mainstream news?

The blackout of Wiki certainly got some attention today, and we need to do something similar, something that is not harmful but thoughful, something to bring the issue to the national and international table.

While the Internet copyright laws are a complicated subject, the release of the JFK Assassination records is less so, and one that everyone - including Lone Nutters, should support.

BK

JFKcountercoup: Dear Mr. Chairman Darrell Issa (R. Calf.)

(31) COA JFK Act Ad Hoc Lobby Group

What you are getting on Wikipedia pages today:

Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge

For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia.

You can then go to another page:

Why is Wikipedia blacked-out?

Wikipedia is protesting against SOPA and PIPA by blacking out the English Wikipedia for 24 hours, beginning at midnight January 18, Eastern Time. Readers who come to English Wikipedia during the blackout will not be able to read the encyclopedia: instead, you will see messages intended to raise awareness about SOPA and PIPA, and encouraging you to share your views with your elected representatives, and via social media.

What are SOPA and PIPA?

SOPA and PIPA represent two bills in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate respectively. SOPA is short for the "Stop Online Piracy Act," and PIPA is an acronym for the "Protect IP Act." ("IP" stands for "intellectual property.") In short, these bills are efforts to stop copyright infringement committed by foreign web sites, but, in our opinion, they do so in a way that actually infringes free expression while harming the Internet. Detailed information about these bills can be found in the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act articles on Wikipedia, which are available during the blackout. GovTrack lets you follow both bills through the legislative process: SOPA on this page, and PIPA on this one. The EFF has summarized why these bills are simply unacceptable in a world that values an open, secure, and free Internet.

Why is this happening?

Wikipedians have chosen to black out the English Wikipedia for the first time ever, because we are concerned that SOPA and PIPA will severely inhibit people's access to online information. This is not a problem that will solely affect people in the United States: it will affect everyone around the world.

Why? SOPA and PIPA are badly drafted legislation that won't be effective in their main goal (to stop copyright infringement), and will cause serious damage to the free and open Internet. They put the burden on website owners to police user-contributed material and call for the unnecessary blocking of entire sites. Small sites won't have sufficient resources to defend themselves. Big media companies may seek to cut off funding sources for their foreign competitors, even if copyright isn't being infringed. Foreign sites will be blacklisted, which means they won't show up in major search engines. And, SOPA and PIPA build a framework for future restrictions and suppression.

Does this mean that Wikipedia itself is violating copyright laws, or hosting pirated content?

No, not at all. Some supporters of SOPA and PIPA characterize everyone who opposes them as cavalier about copyright, but that is not accurate. Wikipedians are knowledgeable about copyright and vigilant in protecting against violations: Wikipedians spend thousands of hours every week reviewing and removing infringing content from the site. We are careful about it because our mission is to share knowledge freely with people all over the world. To that end, all Wikipedians release their contributions under a free license, and all the material we offer is freely licensed. Free licenses are incompatible with copyright infringement, and so infringement is not tolerated.

Isn't SOPA dead? Wasn't the bill shelved, and didn't the White House declare that it won't sign anything that resembles the current bill?

No, neither SOPA nor PIPA are dead. On January 17th, SOPA's sponsor said the bill will be discussed in early February. There are signs PIPA may be debated on the Senate floor next week. Moreover, SOPA and PIPA are just indicators of a much broader problem. We are already seeing big media calling us names. In many jurisdictions around the world, we're seeing the development of legislation that prioritizes overly-broad copyright enforcement laws, laws promoted by power players, over the preservation of individual civil liberties. We want the Internet to be free and open, everywhere, for everyone.

Aren't SOPA/PIPA as they stand not even really a threat to Wikipedia? Won't the DNS provisions be removed?

SOPA and PIPA are still alive, and they're still a threat to the free and open web, which means they are a threat to Wikipedia. For example, in its current form, SOPA would require U.S. sites to take on the heavy burden of actively policing third-party links for infringing content. And even with the DNS provisions removed, the bill would give the U.S. government extraordinary, ambiguous, and loosely-defined powers to take control over content and information on the free web. Taking one bad provision out doesn't make the bills okay, and regardless, Internet experts agree they won't even be effective in their main goal: halting copyright infringement. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a really great post about some of the more dangerous SOPA and PIPA provisions.

What can users outside of the U.S. do to support this effort?

Readers who don't live in the United States can contact their local State Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or similar branch of government. Tell them that you oppose the draft U.S. SOPA and PIPA legislation, and all similar legislation. SOPA and PIPA will have a global effect - websites outside of the U.S. would be impacted by legislation that hurts the free and open web. And, other jurisdictions are grappling with similar issues, and may choose paths similar to SOPA and PIPA.

Is it still possible to access Wikipedia in any way?

The Wikipedia community, as part of their request to the Wikimedia Foundation to carry out this protest, asked us to ensure that we make English Wikipedia accessible in some way during an emergency. The English Wikipedia will be accessible on mobile devices and smart phones. You can also view Wikipedia normally by completely disabling JavaScript in your browser, as explained on this Technical FAQ page.

I keep hearing that this is a fight between Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Is that true?

No. Some people are characterizing it that way, probably in an effort to imply all the participants are motivated by commercial self-interest. But you can know it's not that simple, because Wikipedia has no financial self-interest here: we are not trying to monetize your eyeballs or sell you products. We are protesting to raise awareness about SOPA and PIPA solely because we think they will hurt the Internet, and your ability to access information. We are doing this for you.

In carrying out this protest, is Wikipedia abandoning neutrality?

We hope you continue to trust Wikipedia to be a neutral informational resource. We are staging this blackout because, although Wikipedia's articles are neutral, its existence actually is not. For over a decade, Wikipedians have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Wikipedia's existence depends on a free, open and uncensored Internet. We are shutting Wikipedia down for you, our readers. We support your right to freedom of thought and freedom of expression. We think everyone should have access to educational material on a wide range of subjects, even if they can't pay for it. We believe people should be able to share information without impediment. We believe that new proposed laws like SOPA and PIPA (and other similar laws under discussion inside and outside the United States) don't advance the interests of the general public. That's why we're doing this.

What can I read to get more information?

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The problem is photographs. How boring would the Internet be if we can't use pictures on our blogs or websites. I understand the photographer wants to be paid. They are paid when they sell the picture, say to a newspaper. But if the picture is relevant to a discussion or a blog entry, somehow I think we should be allowed to use it.

I wanted to buy a photo I'd never seen before. Getty pictures, I think. They wanted $150. This is how expensive it is. I feel we should be able to use a photo as long as we publish the photographer's name, what the picture means, where it was first used, something like that. Even if a stock photo site wants a flat rate of $50 per picture, I still couldn't afford it.

This is something which needs to be debated about. There has to be a happy solution. Just think about the Internet without few pictures.

Kathy C

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The problem is photographs. How boring would the Internet be if we can't use pictures on our blogs or websites. I understand the photographer wants to be paid. They are paid when they sell the picture, say to a newspaper. But if the picture is relevant to a discussion or a blog entry, somehow I think we should be allowed to use it.

I wanted to buy a photo I'd never seen before. Getty pictures, I think. They wanted $150. This is how expensive it is. I feel we should be able to use a photo as long as we publish the photographer's name, what the picture means, where it was first used, something like that. Even if a stock photo site wants a flat rate of $50 per picture, I still couldn't afford it.

This is something which needs to be debated about. There has to be a happy solution. Just think about the Internet without few pictures.

Kathy C

It's not just photos, as editorial copy is also posted free.

I used to write a newpaper column once a week and got a hundred bucks for it, but now I'm only on the internet and I get zilch.

I wrote a JFK article once and published it in our COPA newsletter and when I get to Dallas, I bought a copy of the Dealey Plaza news that a kid hawked for $2 and there was my article on the front page - at least they gave me writer credit and noted where they got it.

Encyclopedias used to pay specialists and professors to write their subject entries, now Wiki does it for free - and they ask us to pay them a donation to them.

There are some benefits to the Internet, as you know how many people read your stuff - but the number of hits don't make up for the dollars.

I don't know the solution, and neither does Wiki, but censoring web sites is not the way to do it.

And Issa isn't interested in seeing that photographers and writers get paid for their copy, he's only interested because of Hollywood film producers and big time music labels are complaining about their movies and songs from being shared and distributed free, mostly by kids (pirates - they call them).

BK

Edited by William Kelly
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Well, there's no mention of one of the bill's primary sponsor's Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Information Policy Committee, who had scheduled a public hearing on this very subject today, but suddenly cancelled - or rather postponed (I bet it never happens) - the hearing at the last minute.

This is the same person and the same committee who is responsible for the oversight of the JFK Act, but has failed to hold a hearing on the matter in 15 years, and has so far ignored our requests for a public overisght hearing to determine why so many JFK assassination records have been destroyed, gone missing or are still being withheld despite the JFK Act law.

James Douglas, author of JFK & the Unspeakable, at a Dallas COPA conference two years ago, said that in order to get a JFK Act Oversight Hearing we would have to generate as much public support as that which got the JFK Act passed in the first place - which means we must reach the mainstream audience that Oliver Stone's JFK movie reached, and make the issue NEWS - so it is in every newspaper, TV and radio news cast and internet news site in the USA.

Are the two issues related? They are targeting the same person and small committee - Issa and Oversight - the same guys we are targeting.

Does the internet censorship of copyrighted material relate to the government's refusal to release JFK assassination records even though Congress passed a law ordering it to do so?

What can we do to get the subject of releasing the JFK Assassination records back in the mainstream news?

The blackout of Wiki certainly got some attention today, and we need to do something similar, something that is not harmful but thoughful, something to bring the issue to the national and international table.

While the Internet copyright laws are a complicated subject, the release of the JFK Assassination records is less so, and one that everyone - including Lone Nutters, should support.

BK

JFKcountercoup: Dear Mr. Chairman Darrell Issa (R. Calf.)

(31) COA JFK Act Ad Hoc Lobby Group

What you are getting on Wikipedia pages today:

Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge

For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia.

You can then go to another page:

Why is Wikipedia blacked-out?

Wikipedia is protesting against SOPA and PIPA by blacking out the English Wikipedia for 24 hours, beginning at midnight January 18, Eastern Time. Readers who come to English Wikipedia during the blackout will not be able to read the encyclopedia: instead, you will see messages intended to raise awareness about SOPA and PIPA, and encouraging you to share your views with your elected representatives, and via social media.

What are SOPA and PIPA?

SOPA and PIPA represent two bills in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate respectively. SOPA is short for the "Stop Online Piracy Act," and PIPA is an acronym for the "Protect IP Act." ("IP" stands for "intellectual property.") In short, these bills are efforts to stop copyright infringement committed by foreign web sites, but, in our opinion, they do so in a way that actually infringes free expression while harming the Internet. Detailed information about these bills can be found in the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act articles on Wikipedia, which are available during the blackout. GovTrack lets you follow both bills through the legislative process: SOPA on this page, and PIPA on this one. The EFF has summarized why these bills are simply unacceptable in a world that values an open, secure, and free Internet.

Why is this happening?

Wikipedians have chosen to black out the English Wikipedia for the first time ever, because we are concerned that SOPA and PIPA will severely inhibit people's access to online information. This is not a problem that will solely affect people in the United States: it will affect everyone around the world.

Why? SOPA and PIPA are badly drafted legislation that won't be effective in their main goal (to stop copyright infringement), and will cause serious damage to the free and open Internet. They put the burden on website owners to police user-contributed material and call for the unnecessary blocking of entire sites. Small sites won't have sufficient resources to defend themselves. Big media companies may seek to cut off funding sources for their foreign competitors, even if copyright isn't being infringed. Foreign sites will be blacklisted, which means they won't show up in major search engines. And, SOPA and PIPA build a framework for future restrictions and suppression.

Does this mean that Wikipedia itself is violating copyright laws, or hosting pirated content?

No, not at all. Some supporters of SOPA and PIPA characterize everyone who opposes them as cavalier about copyright, but that is not accurate. Wikipedians are knowledgeable about copyright and vigilant in protecting against violations: Wikipedians spend thousands of hours every week reviewing and removing infringing content from the site. We are careful about it because our mission is to share knowledge freely with people all over the world. To that end, all Wikipedians release their contributions under a free license, and all the material we offer is freely licensed. Free licenses are incompatible with copyright infringement, and so infringement is not tolerated.

Isn't SOPA dead? Wasn't the bill shelved, and didn't the White House declare that it won't sign anything that resembles the current bill?

No, neither SOPA nor PIPA are dead. On January 17th, SOPA's sponsor said the bill will be discussed in early February. There are signs PIPA may be debated on the Senate floor next week. Moreover, SOPA and PIPA are just indicators of a much broader problem. We are already seeing big media calling us names. In many jurisdictions around the world, we're seeing the development of legislation that prioritizes overly-broad copyright enforcement laws, laws promoted by power players, over the preservation of individual civil liberties. We want the Internet to be free and open, everywhere, for everyone.

Aren't SOPA/PIPA as they stand not even really a threat to Wikipedia? Won't the DNS provisions be removed?

SOPA and PIPA are still alive, and they're still a threat to the free and open web, which means they are a threat to Wikipedia. For example, in its current form, SOPA would require U.S. sites to take on the heavy burden of actively policing third-party links for infringing content. And even with the DNS provisions removed, the bill would give the U.S. government extraordinary, ambiguous, and loosely-defined powers to take control over content and information on the free web. Taking one bad provision out doesn't make the bills okay, and regardless, Internet experts agree they won't even be effective in their main goal: halting copyright infringement. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a really great post about some of the more dangerous SOPA and PIPA provisions.

What can users outside of the U.S. do to support this effort?

Readers who don't live in the United States can contact their local State Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or similar branch of government. Tell them that you oppose the draft U.S. SOPA and PIPA legislation, and all similar legislation. SOPA and PIPA will have a global effect - websites outside of the U.S. would be impacted by legislation that hurts the free and open web. And, other jurisdictions are grappling with similar issues, and may choose paths similar to SOPA and PIPA.

Is it still possible to access Wikipedia in any way?

The Wikipedia community, as part of their request to the Wikimedia Foundation to carry out this protest, asked us to ensure that we make English Wikipedia accessible in some way during an emergency. The English Wikipedia will be accessible on mobile devices and smart phones. You can also view Wikipedia normally by completely disabling JavaScript in your browser, as explained on this Technical FAQ page.

I keep hearing that this is a fight between Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Is that true?

No. Some people are characterizing it that way, probably in an effort to imply all the participants are motivated by commercial self-interest. But you can know it's not that simple, because Wikipedia has no financial self-interest here: we are not trying to monetize your eyeballs or sell you products. We are protesting to raise awareness about SOPA and PIPA solely because we think they will hurt the Internet, and your ability to access information. We are doing this for you.

In carrying out this protest, is Wikipedia abandoning neutrality?

We hope you continue to trust Wikipedia to be a neutral informational resource. We are staging this blackout because, although Wikipedia's articles are neutral, its existence actually is not. For over a decade, Wikipedians have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Wikipedia's existence depends on a free, open and uncensored Internet. We are shutting Wikipedia down for you, our readers. We support your right to freedom of thought and freedom of expression. We think everyone should have access to educational material on a wide range of subjects, even if they can't pay for it. We believe people should be able to share information without impediment. We believe that new proposed laws like SOPA and PIPA (and other similar laws under discussion inside and outside the United States) don't advance the interests of the general public. That's why we're doing this.

What can I read to get more information?

Bill,

IMHO, this is your best post ever! I just now signed the petition...

Thanks,

--Tommy :)

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The problem is photographs. How boring would the Internet be if we can't use pictures on our blogs or websites. I understand the photographer wants to be paid. They are paid when they sell the picture, say to a newspaper. But if the picture is relevant to a discussion or a blog entry, somehow I think we should be allowed to use it.

I wanted to buy a photo I'd never seen before. Getty pictures, I think. They wanted $150. This is how expensive it is. I feel we should be able to use a photo as long as we publish the photographer's name, what the picture means, where it was first used, something like that. Even if a stock photo site wants a flat rate of $50 per picture, I still couldn't afford it.

This is something which needs to be debated about. There has to be a happy solution. Just think about the Internet without few pictures.

Kathy C

I don't get it? I recently contacted some people who have a web-site and photos of a ship called Joseph D. Potts, In my email I had mentioned that my father had Mr. Potts with the ships address in my father's address book. I asked if I may have one of the photos they have listed on their web-site as there were several photos to choose from, in their email responce to me, they asked if they could view my father's phone book page, they seemed quite excited to view the page. So I email the page thinking I in return would be allowed to copy and download the photo of my choice, but instead they emailed me saying, did your father work on the Potts oil rig? This is a very exciting find, thank you for sharing this with us, if you come across any photo of your choice please send $20.00 to ..... Needless to say I was pissed! I sure hope they never publish my father's phone page without me knowing about it.

post-6379-088438300 1326927634_thumb.jpg

Edited by Scott Kaiser
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The latest from Reuters:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/18/idUS398428468720120118

In the space of a couple of days, Hollywood and its content creators lost the public relations war over Internet piracy SOPA legislation -- which now appears poised to crumble into a million bits of dust.

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I wasn't sure what the issues really were or whose side I was on until I heard from Rupert Murdoch, and now its quite clear which side is right.

But the Hollywood industry had a PR campaign laid out in that somebody had to make up SOPA and make the copies out to be "pirates." That was a pre-planned PR campaign that also included Issa holding an "oversight" hearing on the issues, one that was called off once they realized that the hearing - a PR event in itself - would backfire on them.

"Everyone from professor and social commentator Cornel Westto supermodel Bar Refaeli voiced their support for the protests, while onenotable objector was News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch."

"Seems blogosphere has succeeded in terrorizing manysenators and congressmen who previously committed. Politicians all thesame," Murdoch wrote.

By Sharon Waxman at TheWrap

Wed Jan 18, 20126:45pm EST

http://www.reuters.c...428468720120118

In the space of a couple of days, Hollywood and its contentcreators lost the public relations war over Internet piracy SOPA legislation --which now appears poised to crumble into a million bits of dust.

Wow.

The messaging industry never had control of the message.

The tech guys found a simple, shareable idea -- the Stop Online Piracy Act is Censorship -- made it viral, and made it stick.

Hollywood hadChris Dodd and a press release. Silicon Valley hadFacebook.

It shouldacoulda been a fair fight. But it wasn't.

Also read: More Anti-Piracy Bill Co-Sponsors Bail

It seems that Hollywoodstill does not realize that it is in the information age. Knowledge moves inreal time, and events move accordingly. The medium is the message in a fightlike this.

Five days ago, almost nobody knew or cared about SOPA. Butwith lightning speed, the leviathans of the Internet, including Google andFacebook and Wikipedia, managed to brand this battle as Bad and mobilizemillions of followers.

By Wednesday morning as Wikipedia went dark, the SOPA isCensorship message was on the cover and home page of every news outlet aroundthe country. By midday, four senatorsand one member of Congress had backed off the legislation.

What was Hollywood doing? By midday the MPAAsent a press release – a press release! - with background information thatoffered the following:

"The PROTECT IP Act: Combating Online Infringement; Creating American Jobs, Promoting America's Economy, Protecting AmericanConsumers."

Are you kidding me?

I'm not saying Chris Dodd did a great job speaking out onthe subject (he didn't), but honestly – that's not how you reach peopletoday.

Also read: Hollywood'sAnti-Piracy Campaign Runs Aground

Why didn't Hollywoodgrab the tools of the Internet to explain that when artists get ripped off,everybody loses?

Why didn't anyone call Will Ferrell and Adam McKay to post ahilarious, viral video that would make the point?

And where was the Creative Coalition when you needed it?

I'm not saying who is right and who is wrong in this fight.I'm just saying it's a debate that has two sides. And it was news to me thatthe legislation only defines a website in violation as a website that isdedicated to infringing copyright.

Look, it's never ideal when the government steps in toregulate speech of any kind. In fact, it's exactly what Jack Valenti andthe MPAA successfully fought decades ago, inadopting a voluntary movie ratings system and beating back attempts to have thegovernment regulate.

But some heads have got to roll here. Hollywoodshowed today that it is completely clueless in leveraging the tools of the 21stCentury.

The content creators who drive the business of the MPAAcompanies were failed by those companies today.

Related Articles: Hollywood'sAnti-Piracy Campaign Runs Aground More Anti-Piracy Bill Co-Sponsors Bail(Updated)

http://www.reuters.c...090140520120118

Two more co-sponsors of anti-piracy legislation in Congressbacked away from legislation on Wednesday, as protests ramped up both onlineand in the streets.

Senators Marco Rubio (R-. Fla),Jon Cornyn (R-Tex.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) backed away from the Senate bill, theProtect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) on Wednesday.

Rubio said he remains committed to fighting piracy but wroteon his Facbeook page that he has "heard legitimate concerns about theimpact the bill coul have on access to the Internet and about a potentiallyunreasonable expansion of the federal government's power to impact theInternet."

Less than a week ago, six Senate Republicans wrote a letterto Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) asking him to delay the cloture vote forthe bill, which is set to take place Jan. 24.

On the House side, Lee Terry (R-Neb.) and Ben Quayle(R-Ariz.) on Tuesday rescinded their support for their version, the Stop OnlinePiracy Act (SOPA). House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith has said theHouse will revisit the bill in February.

While both bills remain alive, the continued evaporation ofsupport, with co-sponsors in the Senate dipping below 40, raises doubts abouttheir viability.

Moreover, Congress members are only some of the high-profilefigures speaking out against two bills.

Also Read: SOPA Protestors Hit the Streets in New York; Other Cities May Follow

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO and co-founder is another.

"Facebook opposes SOPA and PIPA, and we will continue tooppose any laws that will hurt the Internet," Zuckerberg, he wrote hisFacebook page.

"The world today needs political leaders who arepro-internet. We have been working with any of these folks for months on betteralternatives to these current proposals," he added.

Public discussion of the bills -- most of it unfavorable --reached this fever pitch on Wednesday after sites like Wikipedia, Reddit andWord Press shut down their websites in protest.

Also Read: Hollywood'sAnti-Piracy Campaign Runs Aground

The likes of Wired and Google took different approaches tothe remonstration, blacking out certain parts of their site.

Google blocked out the logo on its home page, directingusers to a page with more information on the bills.

Wiredom blacked out all the headlines on its homepagebecause of "legislation that threatens to usher in a chilling internetcensorship regime here in the U.S.comparable in some ways to China's 'Great Firewall.'"

My Damn Channel, an online entertainment studio, also wentblack as its CEO Rob Barnett told TheWrap that while his company clearly wantsto protect IP, "My Damn Channel was founded to give greatartists maximum creative freedom and we can't support anything that could puttheir freedom in jeopardy."

Twitter has been a breeding ground for much of thisanti-SOPA sentiment, and it continued to be so Wednesday despite CEO DickCostolo's belittlement of the "blackouts."

Everyone from professor and social commentator Cornel Westto supermodel Bar Refaeli voiced their support for the protests, while onenotable objector was News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch.

"Seems blogosphere has succeeded in terrorizing manysenators and congressmen who previously committed. Politicians all thesame," Murdoch wrote.

While most of the commentary reflected an earnest approachto the matter, there were also those who opted for a lighter touch.

"I don't get the outrage. I love soap. I use it everyday,and I'm really glad Congress is supporting it," joked Farhad Manjoo, a contributorto Slate, Fast Company and the New York Times.

"xxxx, how do I find out what Wikipedia is!!?," wrote SimonPegg.

What Wikipedia is, is a company that Google supportsfinancially.

Google donated $2 million in 2010 to the WikimediaFoundation, which runs and maintains Wikipedia. Meanwhile, its co-founder,Sergey Brin, donated $500,000 to the Foundation in November of 2011 withhis wife.

Critics of Google like to point out that the Internetbehemoth often pumps money into organizations that protest piracy, using themas proxies for their own agenda.

Regardless of what sides you stand on, the protesting isdominating the web Wednesday, both on sites you can and can't see.

Related Articles: SOPA Protestors Hit the Streets in New York; Other Cities May Follow Hollywood'sAnti-Piracy Campaign Runs Aground

Edited by William Kelly
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Interesting interview. Hollywood has spent $95 million on lobbying for this act. Can that compete with the power of the online community?

http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/17/reddit-ohanian-sopa-fight-isnt-over/

Good article by Clay Shirky in the Guardian on the topic:

There are many reasons to dislike Sopa and Pipa, the pair of internet censorship bills working their way through the US Congress. They are (another) example of the influence of corporate money on American politics: US media firms have cumulatively donated tens of millions of dollars to the bills' authors. They are (another) example of representatives refusal to represent the public: they tried to rush the bills through at the end of last year, with no public consultation. And the proposed technical solution – censorship enforced through the domain name system – would not have the effect they want it to have, but its technical side-effects would break important parts of the internet.

But maybe you don't care about all of that. Maybe politics bores you, maybe technical details make your eyes glaze over. Here's why you should care anyway: the proposed law that would result from Sopa and Pipa will only work if you are put under 24-hour digital surveillance.

The old media firms in the US aren't out to get you personally, of course – they don't really care about you in particular. What they dislike about you is your willingness to share things with your friends, and with the world at large. Sopa/Pipa would allow private companies to assert that a foreign site is "dedicated to theft of US property". Once a US media firm had made such an accusation, they could then black out the domain name of the accused site, so that if a user typed ReallyEvil.co.uk into their browser, nothing would happen (all of this could be based on an accusation: Sopa and Pipa seem to regard the niceties of a trial as an undue burden).

The proposed blackout wouldn't remove the site itself from the internet, of course, it would just make the domain name inert. This is where Sopa and Pipa really get scary. They don't just propose making US media firms into judge, jury and executioner, they propose forcing every site on the internet to pitch in on the proposed censorship and, critically, they imagine punishing not just the original sites but anyone else who doesn't censor them well enough.

The scary bit of legalese here is the idea that the law would apply not just to actual copyright violations (the nominal goal of the law) but to any site that was "facilitating the activities" of copyright infringement, a term nowhere defined but vague enough to include mentioning the existence of such sites, which is enough to make them findable. Like a fast-spreading virus, the proposed censorship moves outwards from the domain name system, to include any source of public web content in the US.

If the phrase "any source of public web content" seems like a dry detail, substitute the name of your favourite web publisher: you. The US is, for the moment at least, the world's premier host of sites that support user-generated material – Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Wikipedia, Reddit, on and on. And under the proposed law, every one of those sites would have to take steps to prevent publishers, which is to say people, which is to say you, from helping anyone find out about the existence of sites the US media firms don't like. And since the law doesn't require a private company to provide any advance notice before the blacklisting, these sites will be forced to spy on their users, in advance and all the time, to make sure you are not talking about sites media firms in the US do not want you to talk about, even if you are not a US citizen.

Sopa and Pipa are, quite simply, an attempt to create a privatised form of international censorship, and because the censorship would have to be nearly total to be effective, they would have a profound and chilling effect on any form of public conversation among ordinary citizens. It would render the internet a place where the only content to be seen or heard or read is produced by professionals, with the rest of use relegated to the role of pure consumption.

As Congress continues to push the bills through, this side-effect of a "consumption-only" internet is starting to look like the goal of the bills in the first place.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/jan/18/sopa-pipa-consumption-only-internet

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Guest Tom Scully

We're at war. Face up to it. Centrist, non-partisan, apolitical are stances akin to positioning oneself as an ostrich, head buried in the sand, instead of drawing a line in the sand and taking a stand, as wikipedia.org and Reddit appear to have done.

Risk losing that comfortable seat on the couch, the couch itself, the roof over the couch. You may think you have choices, other priorities, but timing is and will be everything. Decide what is important to you, now. For the second time in my life, I sense it is the season to lay it all, on the line. I remember last time, and it worked out alright.:

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=7255#axzz1jtR6oVhb

Proclamation 4483 - Granting Pardon for Violations of the Selective Service Act, August 4, 1964 to March 28, 1973

January 21, 1977

Public Papers of the Presidents

Jimmy Carter 1977: Book I

The American Presidency Project

Promote Your Page Too

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Acting pursuant to the grant of authority in Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution of the United States, I, Jimmy Carter, President of the United States, do hereby grant a full, complete and unconditional pardon to: (1) all persons who may have committed any offense between August 4, 1964 and March 28, 1973 in violation of the Military Selective Service Act or any rule or regulation promulgated thereunder; and (2) all persons heretofore convicted, irrespective of the date of conviction, of any offense committed between August 4, 1964 and March 28, 1973 in violation of the Military Selective Service Act, or any rule or regulation promulgated thereunder, restoring to them full political, civil and other rights.

This pardon does not apply to the following who are specifically excluded therefrom:

(1) All persons convicted of or who may have committed any offense in violation of the Military Selective Service Act, or any rule or regulation promulgated thereunder, involving force or violence; and

(2) All persons convicted of or who may have committed any offense in violation of the Military Selective Service Act, or any rule or regulation promulgated thereunder, in connection with duties or responsibilities arising out of employment as agents, officers or employees of the Military Selective Service system.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 21st day of January, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and seventy-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and first.

JIMMY CARTER

I believed that the Vietnam war could not continue if enough potential U.S. participants refused to do that....refuse to participate or cooperate with any part of the process of participating. The two most recent American presidents, IMO, have openly declared war against the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights, against U.S. International Treaty obligations, most blatantly via aggressive war waged against Iraq, recent drone strikes against American citizens charged with no crimes, and by:

“President Obama's action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law,” said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director. ..."

I am not including the above example for the purpose of encouraging anyone to commit any act outside of the law, especially with the justification that, in the past, doing such a thing, "worked out alright".

I sensed, back then, a turning point, a point where a decision had to be made. It came to me that I had to live with myself. I'm sharing now my sense that once again,

'tis the season.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2398527,00.asp

Here Comes the National Internet

It's happening in Iran and the U.S. is only a few steps behind.

John Dvorak By John C. Dvorak

January 6, 2012

I first heard about the concept of a national Internet over a decade ago while visiting the offices of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and discussing threats to the Internet. It was apparent then and it is apparent now that most countries, including the U.S., will eventually shut down the "World Wide" Web and instead use the technologies developed by the Internet community to cocoon itself. It solves endless political problems with the Web that plague almost every country.

Again, I include the U.S. in this movement, since we, as a country, are obviously trying to rein in and control the Internet. All you need to do is to look at the outrageous Congressional support for onerous Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

As reported today, Iran is openly discussing a national Internet with no access to the outside world. The regime is so freaked out that people might actually use the Internet to discover the truth about its situation that it is requiring that all Internet cafés to have security cameras within the next 15 days, in order to identify all users. According to The Wall Street Journal, most Iranians already think their home computers are compromised.

Belarus is another country overly concerned about the free flow of information and adopting the national Internet idea. Many countries, including China and Saudi Arabia, have massive filters that they use to block unwanted sites. Even those as advanced as South Korea do this. How do I know that? My own blog is blocked by many of the ISPs in South Korea, for no good reason. It's amazing how many sites are already blocked all over the world. It's just going to be easier to set up government control and license national Internets. It's just too obvious.

Of course, there will be some ways to navigate in and out of the national Internets, but these routes will only be maneuvered by government officials and a few lone wolves who will be illegally hacking and eventually arrested.

And, yes, it will happen here. Why not? Who is going to complain about it? You'll still be able to buy stuff on Amazon and shop online at B&H. You'll still read The New York Times. Some overseas operations such as London's Times might be licensed to operate here, too. The differences will be minor. All that you'll be missing are a few foreign blogs, perhaps, and other seemingly inconsequential sites.

Or so it will seem. Eventually, sites that oppose the government in any way will be taken down without any sort of due process. You can see this coming down Broadway.

The aforementioned SOPA completely eliminates due process from site takedown orders. In the future, all sites will be subject to immediate takedown orders. You can count on it. You can just see this trend moving forward with very little resistance. Nobody, especially in the U.S., wants to face the political implications of any of this. We just trust our officials to an extreme. We vote them into office based on their ironclad promises then immediately forgive them for not following through on the promises. This just encourages and attracts deceit.

Watch over the next few years as the idea of a national Internet evolves from a tool used to suppress opposition to a good idea whose time has come. Yes, this will be sold as a great new idea!

It will be the way we can protect ourselves from alien sites that recruit homegrown terrorists and bomb makers. It will stop offshore piracy websites from ruining our movie and record industry. It will block international child porn rings from making roads into our nation. It will keep al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan from easily communicating with the terrorist cells in the U.S., probably preventing another 9/11. It's a clear winner.

It will also have other benefits. It will protect the nation from spying Chinese eyes. It might prevent the cyber war that everyone is fretting about. If it is a closed system, then any attack has to take place from within and that's easier to catch. I'm telling you, I can explain for days why this is a great idea. I'm almost convincing myself.

I can assure you that it will take very little effort to convince Congress and the public that a national Internet in the U.S. is brilliant. Then, see what happens next. Complete government control. You won't like it, but it will be too late.

It's probably already too late. Let's watch how it unfolds. In the meantime, enjoy your digital "Golden Age."

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The Wikipedia blackout is over — and you have spoken.

More than 162 million people saw our message asking if youcould imagine a world without free knowledge. You said no. You shut downCongress's switchboards. You melted their servers. Your voice was loud andstrong. Millions of people have spoken in defense of a free and open Internet.

For us, this is not about money. It's about knowledge. As acommunity of authors, editors, photographers, and programmers, we inviteeveryone to share and build upon our work.

Our mission is to empower and engage people to document thesum of all human knowledge, and to make it available to all humanity, inperpetuity. We care passionately about the rights of authors, becausewe are authors.

SOPA and PIPA are not dead: they are waiting in the shadows.What's happened in the last 24 hours, though, is extraordinary. The Internethas enabled creativity, knowledge, and innovation to shine, and as Wikipediawent dark, you've directed your energy to protecting it.

We're turning the lights back on. Help us keep them shiningbrightly.

Wikipedia:SOPA initiative/Learn more

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

< Wikipedia:SOPA initiative

Was the blackout successful?

The English Wikipedia joined thousands of other web sites inprotesting SOPA and PIPA by blacking out its content for 24 hours. The purposeof the blackout was twofold: to raise public awareness, and to encourage peopleto share their views with their elected representatives.

During the blackout:

More than 12,000 people commented on theWikimedia Foundation's blog post announcing the blackout. A breathtakingmajority supported the blackout.

More than 162 million saw the Wikipedia blackout page.

More than eight million looked up their electedrepresentatives' contact information via the Wikipedia tool.

Anti-SOPA and PIPA topics began trending globally on Twitterimmediately after the blackout began. Hashtags included #factswithoutwikipedia, #SOPAstrike, and #wikipediablackout.At one point, #wikipediablackoutconstituted 1% of all tweets, and SOPAaccounted for a quarter-million tweets hourly during the blackout.

A quick search of "SOPAblackout" on Google News produced more than 8,000 links as of thiswriting.

Are SOPA and PIPA dead?

Not at all. SOPA sponsor Lamar Smith stated that the Houseof Representatives will push the bill forward in February. Senate sponsorPatrick Leahy still plans for a PIPA vote on January 24.

Moreover, SOPA and PIPA are symptoms of a larger issue. Theyare misguided solutions to a misunderstood problem. In the U.S.and abroad, legislators and big media are embracing censorship and sacrificingcivil liberties in their attacks on free knowledge and an open Internet.

What will happen next with SOPA and PIPA?

Although support has slipped in both the Senate and theHouse, there is a Senate vote on PIPA scheduled for January 24, and the Housewill be moving forward as well. It is important to keep the pressure up on bothhouses. We expect changes that appear to tone down the damaging effects of thelaws, without addressing their fundamental flaws.

What should I do now?

Keep calling your representatives! Tell them you believe ina free and open Internet!

I live in the United States.What's the best way for me to help?

The most effective action you can take is to call yourrepresentatives and tell them you oppose SOPA and PIPA, and any similarlegislation. Type your zipcode in the locator box tofind your representatives' contact information. Text-based communication isokay, but phone calls have the most impact.

I don't live in the United States. What's the best way for me to help?

Contact your country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs orsimilar government agency. Tell them you oppose SOPA and PIPA, and any similarlegislation. SOPA and PIPA will affect websites outside of the United States, and even sites inside the United States (like Wikipedia) that also affectnon-American readers -- like you. Calling your own government will also letthem know you don't want them to create their own bad anti-Internetlegislation.

What happened?

Wikipedia protested SOPA and PIPA by blacking out theEnglish Wikipedia for 24 hours, beginning at midnightJanuary 18, Eastern Time. Readers who came to the English Wikipedia during theblackout were not able to read the encyclopedia. Instead, they saw messagesabout SOPA and PIPA, encouragement to contact their representatives, and linksto share information on social media.

What are SOPA and PIPA?

SOPA (the "Stop Online Piracy Act") and PIPA (the"Protect Intellectual Property Act" ) are bills in the U.S. House ofRepresentatives and the U.S. Senate, respectively. These bills are presented asefforts to stop copyright infringement committed by foreign web sites, but inour opinion, they do so in a way that would disrupt free expression and harmthe Internet. Detailed information about these bills can be found in the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECTIP Act articles on Wikipedia (which remained available during theblackout). GovTrack lets you follow both bills through the legislativeprocess: SOPAon this page, and PIPA on this one.The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization that advocates for thepublic interest in the digital realm, has summarizedthe flaws in these bills, and the threats to an open, secure, and freeInternet.

Why did the blackout happen?

Wikipedians chose to black out the English Wikipedia out ofconcern that SOPA and PIPA would severely inhibit people's access toinformation. The bills would reach far beyond the United States, and affect everyone around theworld.

Why? SOPA and PIPA would put the burden on website owners topolice user-contributed material and call for the unnecessary blocking ofentire sites. Small sites won't have sufficient resources to defend themselves.Big media companies may seek to cut off funding sources for their foreigncompetitors, even if copyright isn't being infringed. Foreign sites will beblacklisted, which means they won't show up in major search engines. And, SOPAand PIPA build a framework for future restrictions and suppression.

Does this mean that Wikipedia itself is violating copyrightlaws, or hosting pirated content?

No, not at all. Some supporters of SOPA and PIPAcharacterize everyone who opposes them as cavalier about copyright, but that isnot accurate. Wikipedians are knowledgeable about copyright and vigilant inprotecting against violations. We spend thousands of hours every week reviewingand removing infringing content as it is posted, and educating new contributorsabout copyright law. We are careful about it because our mission is to shareknowledge freely. To that end, all Wikipedians release their own contributionsunder a free license. Free licenses are incompatible with copyrightinfringement, and so infringement is not tolerated.

How could SOPA and PIPA hurt Wikipedia?

SOPA and PIPA threaten Wikipedia in many ways. For example,in its current form, SOPA could require Wikipedia to actively monitor everysite we link to, to ensure it doesn't host infringing content. Any link to aninfringing site could put us in jeopardy of being forced offline. The trust andopenness that underlies the entire Wikipedia project would be threatened, andnew, restrictive policies would make it harder for us to be open to newcontributors.

I keep hearing that this is a fight between Hollywoodand Silicon Valley. Is that true?

No. Some people are characterizing it that way, probably inan effort to imply all the participants are motivated by commercialself-interest. But it's obviously not that simple; the public has a huge stakein how the Internet operates, beyond commercial Internet sites or commercialentertainment. As a non-profit, user-generated project, we run the fifthmost-viewed site in the world. Unlike Hollywoodand Silicon Valley, Wikipedia has no financial stake inSOPA and PIPA: we do not benefit from copyright infringement, nor are we tryingto monetize traffic or sell ads. Wikipedia, and other non-profit,community-generated sites, exist to freely share knowledge, without infringingon intellectual property rights. We are protesting to protect your rights.We're on your side.

I have a question that isn't answered here, or, I would liketo send feedback to Wikipedia.

You can reach Wikipedia editors atinfo-en(at)wikimedia(dot)org. If you need a response, please be patient: we mayhave trouble keeping up with the mail.

What can I read to get more information?

Try these links:

Wikipedia's articles on SOPA and PIPA

Statement from Wikipedia editorsannouncing decision to black out

Wikimedia Foundationpress release

Blogpost from Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner

ElectronicFrontier Foundation blog post on the problems with SOPA/PIPA

As of 6AM PT,January 18, Google has more than 4,600 articles about the blackout. Here are afew:

Whyis Wikipedia staging a blackout and what is SOPA?, from the National Post

Wikipediajoins blackout protest at US anti-piracy moves, from the British BroadcastingCorporation

Wikipediablackout over US anti-piracy bills and FEATURE:Websites blackout over 'SOPA censorship', from Al Jazeera

Wikipedia,Craigslist, other sites go black in SOPA protest, from the Los AngelesTimes

GoogleRallies Opposition to Murdoch-Backed Anti-Piracy Bill, from BusinessWeek

SOPA protest: TheNet strikes back, from Politico

Wikipediablackout a 'gimmick', MPAA boss claims, from the Guardian

Wikipedia24-hour blackout: a reader and Whywe're taking Wikipedia down for a day, from the New Statesman

Internet-wideprotests against SOPA/PIPA are kicking up a storm, by the Hindustan Times

SOPA,PIPA: What you need to know, from CBS News

Proteston Web Uses Shutdown to Take On Two Piracy Bills, from the New York Times

ProtestingSOPA: how to make your voice heard, from Ars Technica

WhyWe've Censored Wired.com, from Wired

Edited by William Kelly
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