Under the cover of protecting large corporations from online piracy, two bills are advancing through Congress that, in reality, pose a grave threat to the Internet and to Constitutionally protected free speech, itself.
To demonstrate the dangers of a corporate-censored Internet, many important websites are on strike today, January 18, 2012–among them, BoingBoing, reddit, and of course, icanhascheesburger. But to many, the most noticeable absence in this day without the web will likely be Wikipedia.
Wikipedia is dark today, replacing its English language pages with an elegant black splash screen and links to their arguments against the pending legislation. There is also a tool to help you contact your representatives in Congress.
Twitter has refused to join today’s strike (though their CEO says he opposes SOPA), but maybe that’s for the best–because without Wikipedia, we all need somewhere to get our information. And so was born the hashtag #ImWikipedia.
Of course, Twitter does not have a virtual army of fact-checking editors to vet all their “facts,” but, hey, desperate times call for desperate measures!
If you want to learn more about today’s strike, try the Stopsopa Standard. If you want to tell Congress to reject a pair of bills experts say will do little to stop piracy but could do much to chill free speech, then call the Capitol at (212) 224-3121.