FYI, Wikipedia

As some of you may have heard, there is a bill in the House called Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and in the Senate (PROTECT IP Act - PIPA) that would seriously impact a free and open Internet.   (Do your research and decide if this will be worth it - I am against both bills.)

But, for our purposes here, this thread is to notify you (and maybe your student) that Wikipedia, the sixth most visited site in the world, will blackout on Wednesday, Jan. 18th in protest.  This is the first time they have ever staged such a protest.    From Wickipedia:

In making this decision, Wikipedians will be criticized for seeming to abandon neutrality to take a political position. That's a real, legitimate issue. We want people to trust Wikipedia, not worry that it is trying to propagandize them.

But although Wikipedia's articles are neutral, its existence is not. As Wikimedia Foundation board member Kat Walsh wrote on one of our mailing lists recently,
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. For the most part, Wikimedia projects are organizing and summarizing and collecting the world’s knowledge. We’re putting it in context, and showing people how to make to sense of it.
But that knowledge has to be published somewhere for anyone to find and use it. Where it can be censored without due process, it hurts the speaker, the public, and Wikimedia. Where you can only speak if you have sufficient resources to fight legal challenges, or if your views are pre-approved by someone who does, the same narrow set of ideas already popular will continue to be all anyone has meaningful access to. 
Other groups are following this tactic as well: Mozilla, Wordpress, Reddit and Boing, BoingFacebook, Google, Twitter and Tumblr are all opposed but are not joining in the blackout. 


Christina said…
The 7th Legislative District Congress Representative Jim McDermott is openly against SIPA and PIPA. So is our state's junior Senator Maria Cantwell. Senior senator Patty Murray's offices could use some phone-call attention from the snowbound today.

I'd post the contact info but interestingly Google Chrome is giving me "Configuration Error" messages when I try to access

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