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Censorship United States Wikipedia Politics Your Rights Online

Wikipedia Still Set For Full Blackout Wednesday 291

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the sopa-never-forget-never-relent dept.
symbolset writes "Jimmy Wales confirms that the entire English language Wikipedia will be on blackout January 18th from midnight to midnight, Eastern Standard Time. The site's 25 million daily users will redirected to an education page with a call to action. Votes are still being taken on the exact implementation." Despite a small victory against SOPA in the House, Wikipedia still feels the blackout is necessary due to the looming Senate vote on PROTECT IP, and as a deterrent to future attempts to revive a similar law under a new name.
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Wikipedia Still Set For Full Blackout Wednesday

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  • Chicken! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:24AM (#38723486)

    Shut it down for a week and you'll be able to almost hear the roar of a billion college students having their term papers failed!

  • by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:29AM (#38723536) Homepage Journal
    Theyll try to buy a new law when the dust settles. the only way to fix this, is to go on constant offensive, and buy lawmakers and laws FOR the internet, and to prevent content industry from buying laws AGAINST it.
  • by damicatz (711271) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:31AM (#38723572)

    The primary reason for creating SOPA and PIPA is to get around the pesky inconvenience of having to deal with all those other countries and their own sets of laws. Because the US controls .com, .net, and .org as well as having both IANA and ICANN, big media could simply use the courts they have bought here in the US without having to deal with that annoying inconvenience of other sovereign nations and their own sets of laws.

  • Murdoch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tim4444 (1122173) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:32AM (#38723576)

    I suppose now Murdoch will accuse Wikipedia of being a "piracy leader" along with Google. After all, Wikipedia just serves up other people's content and takes money (what they call "donations") for it.

  • Political reality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EmperorOfCanada (1332175) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:33AM (#38723580)
    Politicians, welcome, I would like you to meet reality. His name is the Sheep With Gun and he is going on strike.

    Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.
  • by schitso (2541028) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:34AM (#38723602)
    Even if every one of the bottom 90% put all the money they could towards bribes^H^H^H^H^H^H "contributions" for our lovely leaders, we wouldn't even come close to what interested corporations/conglomerates "contribute".
  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:36AM (#38723612)
    No, the public opposition was greater than expected. Too much to try for a new law so openly. I predict a sneakier approach: An attempt to sneak something SOPA-like through as an obscure amendment to some apparently unrelated piece of legislation, likely something too popular to oppose easily. Using riders to get unpopular laws through before potential opposition even notices is a time-honored tradition in politics.
  • yes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:37AM (#38723622) Homepage Journal
    that's why google, amazon et al need to do it.
  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:38AM (#38723632)
    No, if you play the money game against the "content industry" you will lose. What we need to do is take back our republic from the 1%.
  • Re:Chicken! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by delinear (991444) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:49AM (#38723722)
    You don't think SOPA/PIPA will affect you if you live outside the USA? This kind of policy has a tendency to spread to other countries with like-minded politicians. I'm in the UK and my only wish was that more big tech companies would follow suit (imagine if Twitter, Facebook, even Google all turned their services off for the day). We hear it time and again that the ordinary man in the street doesn't know or understand about these issues - well maybe this is the best way to get the message across.
  • Re:Chicken! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by neokushan (932374) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:53AM (#38723754)

    Just like how people outside the US rely on the internet as a whole?
    We live in an international society, when the US plans to do something that affects the world at large, the world at large should be made aware of it and given the choice to pressure the US into sanity. If you don't live in the US and get pissed off at the blackout, feel free to mention it to your government representative so that they can go to their bosses and tell them to tell their US counterparts to stop being idiots.

    Hopefully it won't end up a bit chinese-whispery and go from "Stop SOPA and PIPA from destroying the internet" to "Some girl on the internet called Pippa wants to ban Soap".

  • by delinear (991444) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @08:58AM (#38723794)
    Indeed - if the laws in the US attack US sites that have a global audience, we already have a vested interest. When those laws seek to punish sites outside the US, even more so. We also live in a world where alleged copyright infringers are now being extradited to the US for trial - nobody who lives in a country with a US extradition treaty is safe from this garbage or should stand idly by (and certainly nobody has the right to complain that a free site will be offline for a single day when the cause is so laudable).
  • Who gives a shit? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:00AM (#38723808)

    It's only Wikipedia. Frankly, I'd like Wikipedia, Facebook and Google to all shut down for a week in protest. Then people might get some fucking work done, and if they want to learn something they might go to a reference book and get something that's at least been researched, rather than relying on Wikipedia's self-appointed "experts" or having to filter the drivel that Google spits out. And, in the meantime, office productivity would skyrocket, which would make a small contribution to dragging our economies out of the mire.

  • by Lennie (16154) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:03AM (#38723828) Homepage

    What is wrong with the kinds learning something about how important the Internet is for them ?

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:24AM (#38724036) Homepage

    I haven't given any money to Wikipedia in a long time. This seems like a good opportunity to catch up on my donations. I figure to do it while the blackout is in progress, if the donation page is up, or right after if they have donations blacked out.

    It is easy to find examples of people getting paid to do things that harm society. Here's a chance to pay a company, which has earned the money, for doing the right thing. They even make the first show of good faith -- every day -- by existing, not charging, and not accepting advertisements.

  • Re:Chicken! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rudy_wayne (414635) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:28AM (#38724088)

    For the love of all that is coffee, there are people outside the US that use wikipedia. Some of us rely on it for work/school.

    Apparently you haven't heard about the person in the UK who was just ordered to be extradited to the United States for "copyright infringement" despite the fact that neither he nor his website were located in the U.S.

    If Wikipedia, Facebook, Google, etc. were really serious about protesting these bad laws they would completely shut down their systems for at least a week in order to really demonstrate what the effects would be.

  • by assertation (1255714) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:33AM (#38724186)

    If not, please consider it.

  • by Baloroth (2370816) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:37AM (#38724222)

    Ah yes, but see, the "90%" have this magical thing called the "vote." You may have heard of it. As much as politicians love money, they love votes far far more.

    Now, if only people actually realized this.

  • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@cCOWornell.edu minus herbivore> on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:44AM (#38724328) Homepage

    No, a few clicks through of inconvenience won't convince users just how bad the situation is.

    They need to be given a "taste" of post-SOPA life to truly understand it.

  • by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @09:46AM (#38724356)

    It would be the proper solution, however: It's not possible. The current problem isn't really that lawmakers are being bought, it's that they have no way to do their jobs without being bought. It takes money to get known enough to win elections, and votes themselves are an almost uselessly imprecise tool to judge preferences, leading to lawmakers needing to listen to some group to understand what their voters want. In the absence of any better system, that tends to be the loudest group with money on an issue. Which is almost invariably a corporation lobbying for it's own benefit. (Or a PAC lobbying for a sub-group of the populations' benefit, typically a sub-group that has money to fund the PAC.)

    The system is operating as designed: Broken.

  • by smagruder (207953) <stevem@webcommons.biz> on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:03AM (#38724616) Homepage

    You can take out your anger on me. I'm one of the Wikipedians who said Strong Support for a hard global blackout. I'm sorry that you're inconvenienced, but THAT'S THE POINT.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:06AM (#38724676)

    Preaching to the choir is an ineffective tactic.

  • by TraumaFox (1667643) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @11:06AM (#38725558)

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. When groups like Wikipedia and Google and Facebook and Twitter all go on to do this blackout thing, all arguments in favor of the people go out the window, because it becomes an industry vs industry battle. Even though we the people and the aforementioned groups are opposed to SOPA/PIPA, we are not on the same side - they have their own interests, and while some of them may or may not coincide with ours, our own interests are not being represented when they do this.

    When the blackout happens, the government will just see it as a battle between the industries, and it will render the lay peoples' arguments inaudible. If PIPA gets shut down as a reaction to Wikipedia et al, it will be seen as a victory for them, not a victory for us. We will celebrate, sure, but the government and supporters won't be any closer to understanding the part we played and how drastically it would have affected us on a fundamental level had it passed; they'll be just as tempted to introduce new legislation later on until they eventually get their way. Remember, corporations and industries aren't afraid of each other, they are afraid of informed voters.

    As for the "educational" prospect of what Wikipedia et al are doing, convincing people who don't understand what's going on into rallying against SOPA/PIPA just by shutting down important websites is not really a fair tactic, and they won't be educated so much as enraged and desperate to reach any solution that would bring it back. You could shut down Facebook and put a message on there that people need to run through the streets naked to bring it back, and the United States would become a nudist nation overnight. While education is certainly important, we need to educate each other with fair and open discussion and debate, not with scare tactics from groups which have their own separate interests in mind. That's not to say that the information Wikipedia and others will post isn't going to be accurate or true, or that the information and commercials being fed to the public by SOPA/PIPA supporters isn't a load of bunk, but all of that can be posted on these websites without actually shutting down the services - the blackouts themselves are specifically designed to elicit an emotional response, not a rational one, and that's not the kind of tactic we want to employ or endorse.

    While it's nice to have some big name support, this is our battle which we need to win on our own, and we should really encourage Wikipedia and others not to go through with this blackout plan.

  • Re:Chicken! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by next_ghost (1868792) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @11:06AM (#38725560)
    Think of it as "if opposition fails in USA, coming soon to your country as well".
  • Re:Chicken! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blind biker (1066130) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @12:07PM (#38726376) Journal

    You don't think SOPA/PIPA will affect you if you live outside the USA? This kind of policy has a tendency to spread to other countries with like-minded politicians.

    In fact, SOPA/PIPA were specifically designed to target "rogue foreign sites".

  • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @12:47PM (#38726952) Journal

    "Best yet, it would make it nearly impossible for the MSM to ignore the blackout/SOPA/PIPA. Then watch as they tiptoe around the elephant in the living room: why they haven't been covering SOPA/PIPA up until this point."

    Hey everyone, between the post above and the slightly typo'ed article below, they just told us how to really beat these bills.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2012_01/putting_sopa_on_a_shelf034765.php [washingtonmonthly.com]

    Key quote:

    "The legislation ran into an even more significant problem yesterday when the White House announced its opposition to the bills. ...
    Until now, the Obama administration had not taken a position on the issue. ...
    Though the administration did not issue a formal veto threat, the White Houseâ(TM)s opposition signaled the end of these bills, at least in their current form."

    So (sorta) forget your fifth-grade teacher's advice to write to congress. (Mods, that's rhetoric, not literal.) Though the exact timing is a little fuzzy, here's how it really worked:

    1. Mainstream Media ignores the issue, because the bill is in its favor.
    2. Grassroots movement to excite the Big Players.
    3. Big Players excite the general public.
    4. Listen to what the President is *not saying*.
    5. Tell the *President* (via staff etc) that *he or his party* will not get re-elected if he signs the bill!
    6. President issues veto threat. MainStream Media *has to report on the President* (usually!)
    7. Bill dies because it's a dare that it would require an Over-ride.

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