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SOPA Protests Keep Kids From Researching SummerSlam

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WikiCat Censor.jpg
Attention, high school students: You have to read the book now.

Tonight at midnight, Wikipedia shuts down for 24 hours to protest both House Bill 3261, more commonly known as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and its related bill in the Senate, the PROTECT IP ACT (PIPA).

SOPA and PIPA have raised the hackles of Tweeters and Tumblrs and Lolcat artisans since they were first promulgated. SOPA's purpose is to stop the online dissemination of copyrighted material, but its methods strike the online community as too far-reaching. It allows a copyright holder (or the U.S. Department of Justice) to pursue legal recourse against a website that's using copyrighted material without permission, up to and including barring the offending website from appearing in search engines or doing business with online advertising networks and payment services, and prison time for users who rack up ten offenses in six months.

In short, if you use an image you don't own to make your next I Can Has Cheezburger?, you can has big trouble.

Reddit, BoingBoing and the Cheezburger Empire will also voluntarily shut down in solidarity for twelve to twenty-four hours tomorrow, depending on the site. While the issues at the heart of SOPA and PIPA are vital -- free speech and the rapid dissemination of information on the Internet vs. censorship and a return to the days when the only thing online were ASCII renderings of boobs -- you have to wonder how much impact it will have outside of the Internet.

This is Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX), the man who introduced SOPA. Does he look like he makes a lot of GraphJams?

Lamar Smith.jpg
If he does GraphJam, they're most likely asset depreciation table jokes.
Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia's founder (a.k.a., the guy who stares at you from the top of the page during Wikipedia's pledge drives), maintains that denying Congress season recaps of the Simpsons is not the point of the shutdown.

JimmyWales tweet.jpg
The blackout is designed to draw greater attention to the issues, and also to spur regular users of these sites to call their representatives and voice their opposition to the bills.
So if you head to Wiki tomorrow to find out what the basic themes in Goethe's Faust are, or to see a graphic representation of the Melvins' various bassists, or just to figure out who won SummerSlam, you're shit outta luck. Until Thursday.
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3 comments
Oh
Oh

Lamar Smith doesn't look like he knows very much about teh internetz. His puppet-like features indicate he's a shell of a human with strings being pulled by the MPAA and RIAA.

Danieljoeoconnor
Danieljoeoconnor

shut it down. i support it. the fed isn't fretting about some one's picture being gleaned. they're fretting cause the people have easy access to knowledge and info and are waking up to what is really going on and the feds prefer the u. s. people remain ignorant of the truth and to have an internet similar to china.  they want to also know exactly who you are and what you are up to.

stop SOPA
stop SOPA

Completely support the shutdown.  I wish it was more far-reaching including newspapers, news blogs (hint hint voice nation), and financials like paypal.  SOPA and PIPA are among the most recklessly broad pieces of legislation I've ever seen.  Call or write your Senator and stop lobbyist from destroying your freedoms.

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