You are currently browsing the daily archive for January 17, 2012.

As a protest against SOPA — the Stop Online Piracy Act — some widely used and highly popular internet sites are scheduled to black out on Wednesday, January 18, 2012.

As I understand, US legislators are still debating SOPA, yet, if passed, IT experts say that it could  dramatically affect the way we have been using the Internet. Our access to and ability to cite information could be severely restricted.

Many say that there is cause for no concern, however, even if that is so initially, inevitable scope creep could make a number of online resources inaccessible or a shadow of their former incarnations by restricting their use by others.

My American readers, no doubt, are more familiar with the possible ramifications.  Time magazine has a summary of the situation.

On January 12, Time reported that Wikipedia plans to

black out its site on Jan. 18 for 12 hours, starting at 8 a.m. E.T. During that period, the site’s content will be replaced with “a simple message about how the PIPA/SOPA legislation would shut down sites like reddit, link to resources to learn more, and suggest ways to take action.” The company will also run a live video stream of that day’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on Internet security, intellectual property and economic growth.

The article also said that Reddit might join the blackout.

Google, Facebook, Twitter, PayPal and Yahoo! are also discussing whether to participate.

Bottom line: if you find that your favourite site is offline or has a large banner across it with links about SOPA, you now know why. In the meantime, if you need Wikipedia on January 18, please plan accordingly.

UPDATE – January 17: From Instapundit — SOPA is dead for now, but PIPA — the Senate version — is still up for debate.

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