Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Don't They Want To Know What SOPA Is?

In case you haven't heard, some pretty big websites will be shutting down for 12 hours today in protest of a bill that some out of touch lawmakers are trying to get passed. The bill is called SOPA and that stands for the Stop Online Piracy Act. And while online piracy is bad, SOPA is even worse. Basically, SOPA would make it criminal to have any copyrighted material (and the definition of 'material' is so broad that it applies to just about anything and everything) on any website. Think about that. That's impossible to work around if you're a website. And really, it wouldn't exactly stop piracy. (The bill itself seems to have little indication that whoever wrote it has ever used the Internet or understands what piracy actually is.) This blog would cease to exist because of all of the pictures that I use with neither permission, nor malice. The implication of SOPA is that so many websites would cease to exist because of this law. Thus, several websites are going dark today to not only protest, but to also raise awareness of what this law could potentially do. But shockingly enough, people aren't quite understanding that this isn't a personal attack upon them.

Wikipedia is one of the major sites that will be dark today. Now, I don't know about you, but if I found out that a certain website that I frequented was unavailable in protest of some sort of new law that might happen, I'm pretty sure that I'd find out what the heck is going on. (And actually, one of my favorite websites, Reddit, is dark today in protest of SOPA. I imagine that today could end up being quite productive once I stop twitching from withdrawals..) But that doesn't seem to be the case with Wikipedia. No, people don't seem all that interested in why. Shocking, I know. All people seem to be interested in is (brace yourself) themselves. The big picture appears to be non-existent for a lot of folks.

I say that because I've been perusing the tweets that have gone out in regard to the darkness of Wikipedia. What I've learned is disconcerting at best and hypothesis affirming at worst. (That hypothesis being that we're doomed. OK, maybe that's not so much a hypothesis as it is something that I see society inching a little closer to every single day. It's still bad.) Let's look at some tweets and see if you notice the one thing that is glaringly missing from all of them.

By the way, I wish that I could take credit for compiling all of these lovely tweets, but alas, I cannot. I found them in the Twitter feed of a (I'm sure) lovely one Katie Notopoulos. She seems like a hoot. But I'm simply basing that on her tweet that read "fight SOPA; send your congressman a d**kpic". (And by the way, under SOPA, neither Katie, nor I would be able to be putting any of this stuff on the Internet. So there's that. But I digress. Where was I? Oh, right. She's funny and she retweeted the following. Behold!

First of all, I can only hope that some of these people were tweeting these sentiments in an ironic fashion. Second, are they aware that Wikipedia, while a lovely source of information, is edited by regular people and can be changed at any given moment to say whatever you want it to say until someone else notices that Gary Oldman really isn't a giraffe or that Snoop Dogg's "Gin & Juice" is a "masterpiece" and then edits it to be more factual? I didn't even know that Wikipedia was being accepted by teachers/professors as a citable source. I'm not saying that there isn't great information on Wikipedia. There is. I'm just saying that it can't always be trusted to be correct. (I'm also saying that I may or may not have participated at one time in the altering of some Wikipedia entries in order to make them more humorous and to reflect my incredible disdain for people who may or may not be Gloria Allred. That's all.)

But did you notice that not one of these Wikipedia dependent individuals
didn't even question what in the world SOPA is? They think that Wikipedia shutting down for twelve hours is a problem? Are they aware that if SOPA was to pass that Wikipedia would likely be shut down for good? Why isn't anyone asking what SOPA is? Why isn't anyone asking why Wikipedia will be shut down? Man, how I wish that Facebook would do something like this. Could you imagine? The country would collectively wet itself if it couldn't get on Facebook for an entire day. (And let me tell you that if SOPA were to pass, Facebook would need to be shut down as well.) And people would ask what is up if Facebook went dark.

Today might be my most productive day ever without some of my favorite websites to mess around on and waste an extraordinary amount of time on. I might even go outside. I hear that's nice.

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Ashley said...

How about "do these individuals realize that they can look up their information in a BOOK??" cue the dramatic gasp.

Mare said...

A BOOK?!?!


~ Mare

Juliana said...

This is the beginning of Govt arresting the freedom of the internet