TheDigitel will go dark in protest against SOPA/PIPA

TheDigitel will go dark on Wednesday, January 18, from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. in support of an Internet that is free of corporate and government censorship.

Wednesday is American Censorship Day and aimed at fighting the flawed pieces of legislation that are the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA).

These two items have the power to drastically change the Internet that we hold dear, and are currently under consideration with strong support in both the House and Senate

Sites, like TheDigitel, that link to information and allow a free flow of ideas through our Open Community of contributors and bloggers are in danger. As such, we are proud to stand alongside Internet giants like Google, Facebook, and Reddit, among thousand of others, and with more than one million citizens who have contacted their elected representatives.

Or watch the video below and keep reading to learn more about the problem below.

Technology publisher Ars Technica has a well reasoned response and savvy links to the problems with SOPA and PIPA, in part:

Piracy is an emotional issue, but it's important to note what it is not: a war between the "creators" and the "technologists." Ars Technica lives or dies by our content and its copyright. So does publisher Tim O'Reilly. So does musician Peter Gabriel. Yet all of us oppose SOPA. It's time for supporters of SOPA and SOPA-like legislation to drop the conveniently facile caricatures they have of their opponents.

There's room to build a reasonable consensus for dealing with the "worst of the worst" online. But that means going back to the drawing board and bringing the tech community and Internet users to the table before legislation is drafted..

SOPA needs to be stopped—and then we can start the hyperbole-free conversation that the content industries and the White House both say they want.

You can read their full post over here.

Wikipedia has an excellent snopsis on the state of the proposals, in part:

What are SOPA and PIPA?

SOPA and PIPA represent two bills in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate respectively. SOPA is short for the "Stop Online Piracy Act," and PIPA is an acronym for the "Protect IP Act." ("IP" stands for "intellectual property.") In short, these bills are efforts to stop copyright infringement committed by foreign web sites, but, in our opinion, they do so in a way that actually infringes free expression while harming the Internet. Detailed information about these bills can be found in the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act articles on Wikipedia, which are available during the blackout. You can also follow them through the legislative process here and here. The EFF has summarized why these bills are simply unacceptable in a world that values an open, secure, and free Internet.

Isn't SOPA dead? Wasn't the bill shelved, and didn't the White House declare that it won't sign anything that resembles the current bill?

No, neither SOPA nor PIPA are dead. On January 17th, SOPA's sponsor said the bill will be discussed in early February. There are signs PIPA may be debated on the Senate floor next week. Moreover, SOPA and PIPA are just indicators of a much broader problem. We are already seeing big media calling us names. In many jurisdictions around the world, we're seeing the development of legislation that prioritizes overly-broad copyright enforcement laws, laws promoted by power players, over the preservation of individual civil liberties. We want the Internet to be free and open, everywhere, for everyone.

Aren’t SOPA/PIPA as they stand not even really a threat to Wikipedia? Won't the DNS provisions be removed?

SOPA and PIPA are still alive, and they’re still a threat to the free and open web, which means they are a threat to Wikipedia. For example, in its current form, SOPA would require U.S. sites to take on the heavy burden of actively policing third-party links for infringing content. And even with the DNS provisions removed, the bill would give the U.S. government extraordinary, ambiguous, and loosely-defined powers to take control over content and information on the free web. Taking one bad provision out doesn't make the bills okay, and regardless, Internet experts agree they won't even be effective in their main goal: halting copyright infringement. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a really great post about some of the more dangerous SOPA and PIPA provisions.

What can users outside of the U.S. do to support this effort?

Readers who don't live in the United States can contact their local State Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or similar branch of government. Tell them that you oppose the draft U.S. SOPA and PIPA legislation, and all similar legislation. SOPA and PIPA will have a global effect - websites outside of the U.S. would be impacted by legislation that hurts the free and open web. And, other jurisdictions are grappling with similar issues, and may choose paths similar to SOPA and PIPA.

You can read the full entry on Wikipedia's protest over here.

But, most importantly, click here to act.

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