This awareness should be exploited (in a good way) appropriately.
- We as those that do understand the issue have the responsibility to explain the problem to the majority. I still find it very difficult to effectively reason against censorship, privacy and the like to "normal" people, in words that they can relate to. A few weeks ago I personally accepted that challenge and are training. I thought this thread was a good inspiration: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3425973
- Those who speak in public, especially in the mass-media, should not think that they can win a discussion only with arguments, no matter how valid they may be. Please ramp up the rhetoric skills. Alexis Ohanian does not look like he is an expert in PR, so maybe he should be joined by public speakers with experience with hostile (and outright lying) opponents, but he made a very good start, and makes notable progress each time I see him. I know I would be killed out there. Thanks Alexis, and keep it up!
I applaud the stand that Wikipedia makes and, being a german, propose that the blackout should not end on English Wikipedia. The USA still is the most influential country in the world, and this fight is international, just as the web is international. Please do not mourn for one day without your favorite sites. Show some solidarity among internet citizens.
I am quite happy with the progress that has been made.
As a US citizen, I didn't want to be the one to say this (in response to e.g. https://twitter.com/#!/foxhuntingx/statuses/1589645062094274... ) because it might sound arrogant, but seriously, Herr Duerksen is correct: People in Australia, UK, and other non-US places affected by the en.wikipedia blackout can cover their eyes and ears and pretend SOPA doesn't affect them but I think this is a ridiculous stance.
Yes, much of the world looks to/points at the US for various speech &c. policies. Furthermore, much of the Anglophone world uses US internet services and products that would likely be affected by SOPA (facebook, youtube, reddit, en.wikipedia, 4chan, etc.). If it passes, SOPA probably will affect you whether you live in Boston or Brisbane.
There are many people who seem to hard time grasping the fact that US law applies to US sites, regardless of what country you are in (see: "Google turned off my 10 year old's Gmail even tho I live in the UK and it's a US law!!! US law doesn't govern me!!" <- yes but US does govern Google, which operates out of the US).
This fact is a good argument for creating competing services not based in the US (even tho it'd probably be illegal for us 'murkins to use them :/ ).
(Footnote: Wikipedia points out that 55% of people supporting a blackout wanted it to be global, and its true this option had the plurality of votes. It's also true that the majority of people participating voted for something less than a global blackout. Not sure it would have been the Concordcet winner!)
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I wonder how we can push back, too. I've heard the idea of a Constitutional amendment floated around, but what would it say? "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of any blacklist, or prohibiting freedom of association online; or abridging the freedom to connect to other countries, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances online."? Or perhaps, "The right of the people to be secure in their computers, passwords, access tokens, and personal data, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons, data or things to be seized."
Those aren't really serious suggestions, but I am concerned about things like our government setting up national blacklists, even "voluntary" ones, choosing who we can and cannot communicate with online and trawling through people's data wholesale, without first demonstrating probable cause.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
--Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4,1777
A small price to pay to defend our freedom.
For those of us who understand but may not be exceedingly eloquent, what are some examples of a graphic explanation bringing to light the horror of the issue that would also be short enough to fit into a Facebook status update?
In the future, when someone advocates opposing an unjust law and someone else responds that opposition is futile, the anti-SOPA efforts will serve as a compelling and encouraging counterargument.
In the USA, they're bought and paid for.
The most likely move is to slip this authority into a defense/anti-terror bill. It'd be a fairly straightforward exercise in legalese to create wording that grants the government the right to blacklist domains/addresses under the auspices of fighting terrorism.
And while the wording will suggest terrorism, it will be sub-defined to cover illegal enterprises in the aggregate and that, as they say, is the ballgame.
And when that version of the law gets attacked, the defense is the same straightforward jingoism and propaganda that has successfully fended off attacks on the recent, more-egregious intrusions into our liberty.
If people can't see past some flag-waving to get fired up about the executive having the explicit authority to bug your internet connection, search your car, attach a GPS tracker or even unilaterally declare you no longer deserving of your constitutional rights and bundle you off to secret prison, they're not going to see past it to get fired up about what the government might do to their websites.
From wikipedia: In February 2011, despite "repeatedly and categorically insisting that he would not work as a lobbyist," [senator Chris] Dodd was identified by The New York Times as the likely replacement for Dan Glickman as chairman and chief lobbyist for the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The hiring was officially announced on March 1, 2011.
When you're in politics, money is only good for one thing: buying votes. However, if a force stronger than free t-shirts and pens makes itself noticed, like mass-media reminding people how they got screwed, then interesting things can happen.
I think the main issue here with these people is that the Internet is not controlled so tightly as traditional media. And we are just starting to see the social effects.
Two party system, long term is only long enough for the other side to screw up, so 4 or 8 years tops.
In democracy the mass-media has traditionally played the role of a fourth branch of government. However in recent times the traditional mass-media companies ended-up too controlled, either by owners that are also in politics, by legislation, or by the sheer pressure of catering to shareholders. But if you think about it, the social changes that the Internet has brought are only starting to emerge.
So IMHO, meet the new fourth branch of government: the Internet. And surely Internet companies can still be controlled, but the Internet is much more ethereal than traditional mass-media ever was and now the whole world is watching. Hello from Romania ;)
"I'm looking for reader input on whether and when New York Times news reporters should challenge 'facts' that are asserted by newsmakers they write about."
As Clay Shirky observed, the response was "swift, voluminous, negative and incredulous."
Within 24 Hours, Vanity Fair turned Brisbane from an object of outrage into one of sheer mockery.
But the most damning remarks came from readers themselves. The comments on Brisbane's post, and the one from Executive Editor Jill Abramson that followed, were absolutely incandescent.
So yes, the total implosion of the 4th Estate is coming into the open. And that's a very new development. That other big difference is that 10,000 calls to a Senator's office is a lot. So what happens if they ALL get 1,000,000? It's an absolutely off-the-charts response. You know there's opposition. You expect a few grenades to be tossed. Instead, a thermonuclear bomb detonates.
It's entirely possible that the response to Wikipedia's move will be the single largest driver of negative traffic in the history of Washington DC. It's the kind of searing experience that tells previously complacent politicians that, suddenly, they've got a major electoral issue. And not just on this one bill, but on literally everything they do.
I agree with folks who say this cannot end with the derailment of SOPA/PIPA. It has to continue until the flow of campaign cash from lobbyists ends, and the revolving door is welded shut.
And he would run into the exact same reality as Obama.
Granted, this guy is an ideologically pure multi term congressman loved by many people. But if Obama got gray hair from 4 years, I can only imagine what the congress is gonna do to this fiery fellow...
Politicians kiss up to tiny groups just because they are somewhat influential...think of billions going to subsidies for farmers or even tiny 1 issue groups. Surely together, the tech community is much more influential than them.
EDIT: I was unclear. "create an organization that can get everyone mobilized quickly in the future." From the wiki page of moveon.org: "They started by passing around a petition asking Congress to 'censure President Clinton and move on', as opposed to impeaching him." It was a single-issue online activism group that grew into an organization known for quickly mobilizing lots of people for political causes. I should have been more specific! :)
If we are going to start an organization dedicated to Internet freedom, it needs to be focused solely on that issue, or at least similar issues such as freedom of speech in the general sense, and not get into the other controversial topics like health care and foreign policy that have the potential to divide us.
Something where a candidate getting rated a C or D or F by the group, means the kiss of death in politics.
And something, with the following to get mobilized quickly to knee cap any bad legislation before it can even get out of committee.
The tech industry makes up a huge part of the GDP...but there is very little unified influence for people to respect it.
Confusingly enough, they're sending out messages now reading "end the SOPA blackout!" that actually refer to the lack of media coverage of SOPA.
* Push a dodgy law to the brink of a vote
* Get the opposers to bluster into obscurity
* Sneak the same legislation in under other laws/names later in the year.
They do this all the time.
Edit: I actually think they should call it off at the last moment. Save the nuclear option for another time.
Dan, you're misreading the implications of what the story you link to
says. What's actually happening is that the House sponsors hope to
defuse opposition by delaying and slightly modifying SOPA. My
experience as a DC lawyer for much of my career strongly suggests that
there's no reason to suspend expressions of opposition to SOPA or PIPA
or the general effort by content companies to change the internet as
we know it. In my view, it is wholly incorrect to say "that time is
not right now." Anything that the legislators can interpret as a lack
of resolve from the internet communities will encourage them to
resubmit SOPA or its equivalent in another form. The time for
protesting this is, in fact, right now.
(also: Wikipedia can easily put in a line next to the "Call your rep" section addressing this. I don't know about you, but "on hold" doesn't sound very final to me.)
call your congressperson, let them know that you we've won (even if we really haven't) and that we're still watching, we aren't going to forget, and that they can't pass this when we're not looking. This is a big win for us, because everybody likes friendly phone calls more than they do angry yelling. SOPA being shelved allows us to continue to push our message, but from a friendlier perspective that makes us easier to listen to.
the shutdowns still need to happen. people need to be know what kind of legislation the entertainment industry is trying to pass and we need to be ready to fight against it next time it comes up. if wikipedia shuts down tomorrow, it sets a precedent so that next time this issue comes up people already know the consequences.
With that being said, I think the websites that are protesting on the 18th need to be evangelists for a free internet and not just deliver an anti-SOPA message.
Now that the topic has been brought up. a very strong showing of oppositions to the concepts contained in SOPA as well as SOPA itself is a very useful thing.
Also, it's an embarrassment that BOTH of California's senators not only support PIPA, they are listed at co-sponsors.
(I'm not actually in Ireland at all any more, so it's not blocked for me either.)
Not sure how I feel about that as there is nothing non-US citizens can do.
I wish it was delibrately USA only. Then US policy makes can see how SOPA will not only "break the internet" but also put US citizens and groups at a disadvantage on the global stage. Maybe that might get their attention aswell?
a) Wikipedia's core principle is neutrality. When they strive for neutrality and balance on much more sensitive issues, taking a stance on one particular issue affecting one particular country, you violate that.
b) Wikipedia runs on the kindness of strangers, some of whom could potentially be supporting SOPA. It is egregious to spend a month asking for donations on every page and then turn around and deny some of them service.
Fundamentally, it is not the job of an open and free repository of human knowledge to take political stances, however harmful and important the topic might be. To those making the point that this threatens the entirety of the internet, that is true. However
- The point of being neutral is that you don't get to choose what you're neutral about.
- Should Wikipedia shutdown hypothetically over nuclear arms (as an example) - something that could potentially destroy all of humanity? Where do you need to be on the destructiveness scale for Wikipedia to take a stance?
I'm not doing as good a job of summarizing this as Paul Carr does - do read his piece.
Second, the neutrality argument is equally weak. This is even addressed in the official Wikipedia release. Providing an objective and balanced knowledge repository does not require that they as an organizations behave in a neutral manner. The Wikimedia Foundation clearly feels the passage of this bill into law would negatively affect their ability to serve the community. Thus, they are expressing their position against the bill. Is that not proper? How personal must the attack be before it is okay for Wikimedia to take a stand and "lose their objectiveness".
His final argument is extremely naive and simply not true. By his account, if you have a stance on a public topic and publicly declare it, you are now and forever inherently stating your approval of any subject you fail to discuss. If you think this is an exaggeration, here is his statement, "The trouble with taking a political stance on one issue is that your silence on every issue becomes a stance...Everything else that’s happened in the world until now, and everything that will ever happen from this day forward..."
By this logic, a group like the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation must be in support of the Rape of Nanjing. PETA must be completely okay with the fraud committed by Enron. I could certainly create an unending list but the point is clear. It is impossible and unnecessary to publicly (or privately for that matter) hold informed positions about every topic.
On a final note, I think it is actually very logical that different services should show support in different manners. Twitter, Facebook, G+, etc. are social networks and as such, can make the most impact by members creating an echo chamber of dissent. Wikipedia on the other hand is a resource. And, just like the physical world, we feel the greatest impact of a resource when it is no longer available.
>But although Wikipedia’s articles are neutral, its existence is not...We depend on a legal infrastructure that makes it possible for us to operate. And we depend on a legal infrastructure that also allows other sites to host user-contributed material, both information and expression.
PS: Read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act it's fairly neutral if a little long.
If your job depends on you being neutral, you don't get a choice. For example, the International Red Cross needs to stay neutral otherwise they won't get access to areas where they are sorely needed. The Swiss stayed neutral through some world changing events.
By opposing SOPA, Wikipedia loses its neutrality and takes a political stance - an act which could have long reaching consequences.
Here's a trivial question for starters - how does humanity trust Wikipedia's articles on SOPA given that it has taken a stance on the issue? Or trust it's pieces on the people supporting SOPA (a lot of whom are perfectly normal, smart, upstanding people we just happen to disagree with strongly).
The taint could be far reaching.
Your comment is well-written, summarizes a tenable position and contributes to the discussion. Unfortunately, the principle of not downvoting for mere disagreement has in practice been abandoned on HN.
With friends like those....
If Wikipedia is still going to shut down then I'm not sure about the veracity of that article.
I don't think they expected such opposition, unlike other laws like the Patriot Act that mostly went unnoticed.
But they are just regrouping. It ain't over.
The affects of SOPA passing would probably be a benefit to many countries, since more companies & jobs would come to their juristiction (some countries in EU do this with more favourable corporate tax laws, or look at Switzerland and Cayman Islands with banking laws.)
Note that I otherwise support Wikipedia on this.
eWeek stated, "The language of SOPA is so broad, the rules so unconnected to the reality of Internet technology and the penalties so disconnected from the alleged crimes that this bill could effectively kill e-commerce or even normal Internet use. The bill also has grave implications for existing U.S., foreign and international laws and is sure to spend decades in court challenges."
I mean, get awareness out, but then still let us read the articles (even with white-on-black text, maybe?)
The aim is to get people to contact representatives. Wikipedia is an excellent tool for procrastination. You need to remove Wikipedia (and as much of the rest of the WWW as possible) to ensure people actually follow through and call or write their politicians.
With the English site black out, this will affect the world far more than just America.
As a matter of fact this is probably something that we should study and be prepared for.
How do the other data/encyclopedia sites fare during the black out? Is there a real effect, how long does it last?
What is the impact on non US visitors? Shouldn't the black ideally focus on people from the States?
Heck actually, this will probably offend a lot of people who aren't in the states - Indian sites can easily spin this as cultural propaganda (for example).
The more I think about it, the more the point raised higher up in this thread (regarding neutrality) starts bothering me.
A complete black out of the English Wikipedia is (hopefully) a once in a life time event. Considering the diversity of people who come to the site and the different cultural baggage everyone brings, this action will have far more repurcussions than just SOPA/PIPA.
While time zonal differences should mitigate this effect, the blackout should not affect visitors from countries where SOPA makes little difference.
I'll make the claim that most english speaking countries in the world will be affected by this. This bill is supposedly targeting foreign website. It could mean a European site getting blocked by PayPal because of an American law.
I do understand the 'late to the party, hard to miss' factor, but the opposite could have spurred more action from other sites.
Hoping for a quicker response 'next time', but still damn good on you!
In an online community, there's just people talking and chatting and politicking and all sorts of other stuff. We've been discussing this for weeks, and right up to the 24 hour deadline that the Foundation set, people were saying "we need more time!" Wikipedia's consensus process is slow, organic, bumpy and unpredictable. It's not like you can fire them or bribe them or threaten them with guns (which is basically what businesses and governments can do), you have to work with them as equals.
In short: community management and consensus building is hard.
It's somewhat impressive that they did manage to respond in an agile way, especially over the last week.
It worked for Italy as far as I know.
Why not give the infringing websites a chance to enter US courts and have due process, or face the consequences in, say, a week? This would make it more costly to prosecute them, but also give them a chance to explain themselves. The courts could possibly give another resolution than just ordering the intermediaries to doing business with them. The threat would be the threat of SOPA (which wouldn't include DNS), but it would be only AFTER the foreign corporation has refused to comply with the decision of the US court for a month.
And yes, this would mean that all its subsidiaries and websites would be affected at once. It takes time to build a big broadcasting system, so it wouldn't be whack-a-mole, either.
Although to be fair I think SOPA is pretty benign now. I am actually sort of in favor of it as log as it doesn't harm american websites and as long as it doesn't require anyone to make special exceptions in the DNS.
Preventing American based advertisers and banks from paying foreign-based sites which would be prosecuted for being egregiously devoted to piracy or trademark infringement, in the united states seems like something we should be able to do, so that Americans' unlimited ability to download hollywood movies from foreign based sites and songs from kontakte is limited.
America isn't overstepping its juridiction if it is only legislating what American companies can do.
That said, I disagree with the lack of due process in SOPA. I much prefer Issa's bill called OPEN. Issa rightly pointed out that there are better agencies for this than the attorney general's office, such as the ITC.
What I want to know is, where are the provisions in SOPA that say you can be thrown in jail for uploading a song? I thought SOPA was just about curtailing distribution of infringing material by foreign websites.
For people who lack the inclination to download Wikipedia.
Characterizing this as a "political reason" does a huge disservice to what the events of the 18th are all about. This "political reason" has the potential to ruin the internet forever. The point of the blackout is to give people a taste of what could happen under SOPA/PIPA/etc. And get them to call their representatives, and get the word out.
Reddit and HN squawking about a law won't do much on its own. Getting the word out in a meaningful way, meaning impacting sites that the average (non-techie) joe would access, has the potential to be much, much more effective.
Something to the effect of "THIS COULD HAPPEN PERMANENTLY IF LAWS LIKE THIS PASS".
Between Cheezburger, WP, and some of the other sites out there, this is going to be a very, very interesting Wednesday.
If you want to help, take the complaining you're doing now and direct it at Congress (or your local equivalent if you're not in the USA). You can thank them for these shenanigans.
Keep in mind, even if you're not in the USA, this impacts you (and I don't just mean the blackout). So much of the internet's structure is located in the USA (IANA, ICANN, registrars, etc) that any bad legislation here has potentially global reach. SOPA/PIPA is a good example of such bad legislation.
How bad does some political issue have to be for Wikipedia to get involved? And note that SOPA is far down on the list of "universally thought of as evil for all humanity" things that people would like to see changed.
I believe this is the point of the demonstration.
Also, if you're that scared, you've been given fair warning. Download a copy for your archives, so you can keep using Wikipedia while it's offline.
Would SOPA care for those arguments?
Even if that political reason threatens to shut off the encyclopedia?
A 24-hour blackout on only the English version of the site is fairly reasonable to raise awareness of an issue as important as SOPA.
And that's exactly what SOPA would do. Permanently. Nobody is preventing you from accessing today's Wikipedia content on your own this Wednesday - go download a copy of their db right now if you're that scared and fearful of a day without it. The point is a strong demonstration of what the world would be like with SOPA/PIPA. It's necessary.
We should certainly get people's attention by doing something very overt like replacing every article with a big dark SOPA message, but there really should still be a way to click through to the information.
> We should certainly get people's attention by doing something very overt like replacing every article with a big dark SOPA message, but there really should still be a way to click through to the information.
That's fine for us mega-nerds, but what about everyone else?
I actually don't know what it's going to be like to work on Wednesday without Wikipedia. But I think it's in all our interests to find out and put a face on these bills.
Uh, no. That's not the same token at all.
Seth Godin was right when he said "If the user supports it, she owns it. If support comes from anonymous government money, or some corporate sponsorship, then the interactions don't matter so much, and it's more distant from you."
I have never felt closer to Wikipedia than today.
Also why don't they lobby twitter instead? That's the one service congressmen rely on
EDIT: downvoted for pledging $1 to wiki for blackout? interesting.
This just in: The DNS will not be affected. Lamar Smith took it out.
And even before, two weeks ago, I posted that only foreign websites which would be prosecuted under US law would possibly be affected by this. So maybe bit.ly and the other URL shorteners would be affected, but that's not a big deal.
Before you throw a knee-jerk downvote on this, ask yourself ... are you aware of what the SOPA legislation says NOW? Or is this just inertia from the beginning from SOPA, and you are just against any form of going after foreign sites which host illegal downloads?
On a related note, I want to ask ... in the Russian community it's well known that VKontakte has all the songs and you can just listen to them. Does this mean that VK is on the hist list of SOPA? I don't think they care about US advertisers though. What do you guys think?
"not a big deal."
Says you. That is a pretty big fucking deal.
EDIT: I've read your submission. Your argument seems to be "ICE already does this, so we might as well let SOPA legitimize it". I hope you can see why most sensible people would find this logic dissatisfying.
If you say yes, then you are really just against intellectual property protection of any kind, and believe that copyright should be abolished. Because by definition whatever protection the government afford copyright holders, someone can set up an offshore website with an offshore registrar and simply invite US citizens to get everything for free. And they can make money off ads, too :)
Or better yet, what about trademark infringement? What about counterfeit goods being sold from offshore websites? Should they stay up and do whatever they want, putting "Rolex" on their fake watches?
The US is not World Police. Get over it.
That said, I disagree with the lack of due process in SOPA. I much prefer Issa's bill called OPEN. Issa rightly pointed out that there are better agencies for this than the attorney general's office, such as the ITC.
Preventing American based advertisers and banks from paying foreign-based sites which would be prosecuted in the united states seems like something we should be able to do, so that Americans' unlimited ability to download hollywood movies from foreign based sites and songs from kontakte is limited.
(If you have a link to an actual updated text of SOPA I will retract that statement. Additionally, as is said elsewhere on this page, there's still PIPA. Despite the title at the top Wiki is protesting both.)