In addition to Wikipedia’s blackout …

Google Homepage seems to be doing something similar with a large black box placed over the logo.  Click on the black box, and it leads you to the following website, named “End Piracy, Not Liberty”:  https://www.google.com/landing/takeaction/  There is even a form on this page to send an anti-online censorship message directly to Congress!

Also, the following is a link to an article that summarizes the extent of the protest:  http://blogs.ajc.com/news-to-me/2012/01/17/thousands-of-websites-offline-wednesday-to-protest-sopa-pipa/

Jonathan Lethem’s article “The Ecstasy of Influence” addresses this triangular tension among consumers, creators and corporations (the three players affected by/interested in SOPA and PIPA): “But the truth is that with artists pulling on one side and corporations pulling on the other, the loser is the collective public imagination from which we were nourished in the first place, and whose existence as the ultimate repository of our offerings makes the work worth doing in the first place” (68).  Earlier, in his explanation of the “usemonopoloy”, Lethem writes, “Whether the monopolizing beneficiary is a living artist or some artist’s heirs or some corporation’s shareholders, the loser is the community, including living artists who might make splendid use of a healthy public domain” (64).

The refrain seems to be that copyright and anti-pirating laws not only block creative progress but also negatively affect the public — and this 2007 article still strikes true, especially in light of Wikipedia’s black-out, which is explained by Wikipedia as a defense of public (and global) information:  ”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.”

  • Annette

     Here’s what I find curious: despite the language of “globalness,” that surrounds the blackout, or to quote from Katie’s post: “This
    is not a problem that will solely affect people in the United States:
    it will affect everyone around the world,” wikipedia is only blacking
    out its English language service. The humanist in me thinks that’s
    telling….

  • Anonymous

    Annette, I found that a bit strange, too.  It implies so much.  In my opinion, it implies an imperialist view of English as the sole language of the United States.  If we are going to protest, they really should black out the versions of other principal languages of the US.  I wonder why they didn’t do that?

    • Anonymous

      It’s sort of a damned-if-they-do, damned-if-they-don’t sort of thing. No one really owns wikipedia. We all created it and continue to create it. If you block all parts, it’s like saying US legislation matters to everyone and you are blocking sites where viewers potentially have no stake in the matter. And many of them have no vote in the matter. But the fact is, it does matter to everyone because of the power that this legislation would have worldwide (and indeed it is specifically, at least supposedly, intended to target international pirates).

      So, have profits gone down for the various media outlets, recording industry, etc., since the internet? Maybe the artists who find their material stolen are working within a changing system that doesn’t work in the old manner and needs to be updated. Some artists have had success with working outside big media companies, and the profits app creators (and authors like Stephen King, for instance) get asking for donations would lead me to believe that other models might work better in a day and age when this type of legislation seems like an reckless waste of our law-enforcement resources.