If you haven’t been following the issue of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) here in the United States, you might be surprised when you visit your favorite website tomorrow, Wednesday, January 18, 2012, and find it “blacked out.”
Today Wikipedia announced that it is moving forward with a blackout of its sites, based on a survey of its members. Even though one of the most discussed provisions of SOPA has been removed, there is another piece of legislation (PIPA) about which to be concerned.
Piracy vs. Personal Freedoms
[WARNING: Personal opinion ahead!] I am very concerned about both SOPA and PIPA and any legislation here in the US to regulate the Internet. I believe I understand the issues involved with piracy. I continue to be an advocate for responsible intellectual property usage in the genealogy community. However, the draconian and even Machiavellian provisions in these pieces of legislation are the typical knee-jerk reaction that we’ve seen with our government representatives especially in the field of vital records access.
I am not willing to sacrifice my ability to access the Internet and to host my own little piece of that place just because corporations can’t build a better mousetrap when it comes to digital access and because they are too lazy to propose effective legislation.
There will always be ways “around” any wall put up as to Internet access. Even with some of the SOPA provisions, if you knew the IP address for a website that was blocked, you could gain access. However, access should not become the right of those with the technical knowledge. I fear for the everyday user who doesn’t have this knowledge, nor should it be required.
Will You Blackout?
I’m not straddling the fence about blacking out here at GeneaBloggers. Right now I am 80% certain I will black out all my sites on Wednesday. A day off the Internet might just be good for many of us and make us think about the issues. Even though it is GeneaBloggers’ 3rd blogiversary, I think the issue of a free Internet are too important.
If you want to blackout your site as well, here are some resources:
- Wikipedia Blackout Resources http://www.wikipediablackout.com/
- Sopa Blackout http://sopablackout.org/
©2012, copyright Thomas MacEntee