In spite of all the protest and the online agitation, Stop Online Piracy Act’ (SOPA) is making slow advances and will appear before the Judiciary Committee this week. For those who do not know (people outside the US), the Judiciary Committee determines whether a bill is worth presenting to the senate for consideration. SOPA is a draconian bill that affects the whole of the Internet and will put the Internet in direct control of the US government.
SOPA has received fair opposition from many tech-giants and recently, Kaspersky left the BSA over SOPA. This time, the world’s largest online encyclopedia Wikipedia is going up against SOPA. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has proposed an idea of a total blackout in protest against SOPA. This is inspired from the Wikipedia Italy community, which ran a similar campaign earlier this year, and forced the Italian Government to reconsider its decision.
According to the proposal, Wikipedia will blank out all Wikipedia pages as a “self-censorship”. This will surely get the attention of the Government, as Wikipedia is one of the most visited pages on the Internet. Jimmy Wales writes in his Wikipedia page saying,
A few months ago, the Italian Wikipedia community made a decision to blank all of Italian Wikipedia for a short period in order to protest a law, which would infringe on their editorial independence. The Italian Parliament backed down immediately. As Wikipedians may or may not be aware, a much worse law going under the misleading title of “Stop Online Piracy Act‘ is working its way through Congress on a bit of a fast track. I may be attending a meeting at the White House on Monday (pending confirmation on a couple of fronts) along with executives from many other top Internet firms, and I thought this would be a good time to take a quick reading of the community feeling on this issue.
The broad-definition of SOPA puts all user-generated content at risk including the ones on social networks, wikis and micro-blogging sites- something that constitutes the lively Internet, as we know it.