– The mainstream media is finally catching onto the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), thanks to Wikipedia and other sites going dark on Wednesday. A number of protests are planned across the country, including outside the Xerox building in downtown Rochester. (Xerox is on a list of companies that support SOPA, although some companies say the list is not accurate.)
Critics say SOPA is an unnecessary law that would result in the indiscriminate shutdown and censorship of websites.
This is my favorite explainer piece on SOPA, written by a North Carolina middle school teacher for her students:
To avoid violating these proposed laws, sites claim they would have to monitor every post to their sites. Imagine if Twitter or YouTube had to approve every tweet or video to make sure it didn’t violate copyright restrictions. These sites, and others like them, are arguing that this would be virtually impossible to do and still allow people to have the kind of free information sharing they expect and enjoy.
So, why are Wikipedia and other sites “blacking out” their content tomorrow? They’re doing it as a reminder of how important the content on the internet is for many of our lives and as a way of showing that they oppose these bills and what might happen if they become law.
I also found this article on Gizmodo quite good, as well as this interview with author Tim O’Reilly. I realize I’ve shared anti-SOPA pieces. I’m worried about the tremendous power this law hands to ISPs and mega-corporations, especially now that I have my own small website.
– The Maid of the Mist is in jeopardy, as Canada considers ending its contract with the company synonymous with tours of Niagara Falls.
– Was there a fight involving 200 kids at the Liberty Pole last week? The Democrat and Chronicle said “yes.” Witnesses who called into the Bob Lonsberry show said “yes.” But an RPD spokesman told City Newspaper “no.” I think this centers on how you interpret the word “involve.” If 200 kids left school to walk down Main Street to watch people fighting, they’re involved even if they didn’t throw any punches.
– I’m emceeing a conference about entrepreneurship on Wednesday at MCC. I hope to blog about the experience at some point during the day.