Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I'm taking a break from posting about writing for a minute to talk about something else near and dear to my heart--the Internet.

I don't know about all of you, but I spend a considerable amount of time online, particularly when I'm procrastinating. But I also use it for information for basically everything. And I use Wikipedia as a primary source, despite countless high school teachers telling me it was too inaccurate. At least three ideas in Rosetta came from the Wikipedia article on wolves.

Anyway, all this is the rambling way of saying that websites like Wikipedia and YouTube and others are in jeopardy. The point of SOPA (the Stop Internet Piracy Act) is to prevent piracy and copyright infringement. As a writer, I'm all for that. However, if SOPA passes, it essentially gives the government the ability to shut down any website that might happen to link to a site that contains piracy. It's impossible to ask these user-created websites to police every link that appears in an article or a video or a comment, and this can only result in censorship and the eventual blackout of all these sites.

There are other consequences to SOPA and PIPA (the Senate version, the Protect Intellectual Property Act), and you can learn more about them pretty much anywhere online. Here's the BBC article explaining the controversy (I hoped this would present the most objective picture).

Wikipedia, Reddit, and other websites are blacking out today to bring awareness to this issue. You can get involved. Get educated about the bills and their possible repercussions. Go to Google and sign the petition. Write your congressmen and women. Pass the word on to your friends and family. Whatever you choose to do, please keep aware of what's going on. Remember, decisions are made by those who show up.

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