Every generation has a moment, an opportunity to make their collective mark on history- where people divide or pull together over moral, philosophical, and human rights beliefs in hopes of changing the world for the better.
Across history, we have witnessed movements in which we join together in protest to shape our future. In our age, the Internet provides an open space in which ideas and information can be shared and we have begun to see the injustices of our time battled in this space (Arab Spring and Egyptian Revolution). But, the future shape of the Internet has become uncertain. In 2011, Time Magazine’s Person of the Year was The Protestor. It is 2011 no longer. It is now 2012 and we may be standing on the precipice of another such moment; I urge you to stand with us and fight to retain the freedom of information that has become so invaluable and integral to our progress and knowledge as a world population.
What are SOPA and PIPA?
The Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, is most simply put by The Huffington Post as:
…a rapid way to sentence websites to death without the need for pesky things like judges and juries.
SOPA (and its senate counterpart, Protect IP Act, or PIPA) contain provisions that could put user generated websites like Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and others at risk of being shut down or fundamentally altered forever. Although I could go on for pages and pages as to the exact implications of SOPA if passed, ultimately, other people have done that better already. Please click on any of the comprehensively explained articles to learn just how detrimental SOPA can be, because the old mantra “knowledge is power” holds very true.
- The Verge: “What is SOPA and How Does it Work?”
- The Huffington Post: “A Guide to using SOPA and PIPA to Kill Scientific Debate”
- The Next Web: “Anti-Circumvention and SOPA: The Hard Facts”
- Mashable: “SOPA Infographic“
How do I get involved?
This Wednesday, January 18, a number of major web influencers such as Wikipedia, Reddit and Mozilla Firefox, as well as major web platforms like WordPress are all blacking out their high trafficked home pages and peripherals in a powerful gesture against SOPA.
The iSchool will be doing the same; on Wednesday both Information Space and our academic homepage will be blacked out, because we believe standing firm in the name of the Information Age and its ideals is incredibly important. We encourage you to do the same.
Here are a couple ways you personally can join the movement:
- Android App to Find SOPA Backers
- Contact Congress with Two Taps on Your iPhone
- Where do your Representatives stand on SOPA
- Fight for the Future (video)
This is our moment- the moment where we can shape the future of information, technology and the collective human knowledge. I challenge you to learn, to consider, to learn some more and then to choose your stance on SOPA and PIPA. I hope you choose to stand with all of us here at the iSchool, and fight to protect the right to share information openly.