Monday, January 23, 2012

Did you see this?

If you saw these images, then you know something about that fact that Google and Wikipedia were among the heavy weights that expressed their disapproval of anti-piracy legislation making its way through congress.

The SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA the PROTECT IP Act (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act) are getting a lot of attention -- partly because of these two 2,000 pound gorillas. Did you find yourself wondering what was going on and look into it? Did you form an opinion?
Our chapel speaker, Hal Shrader, joked on the first day of classes last week, "Did you go to Wikipedia and wonder how you were going to get through the semester?"

(For some, it might not have been that funny.)

As I thought about the high profile protests of Google and Wikipedia, I wondered about this new form of political power. Is this the next generation of marchers carrying cardboard signs and shouting catchy mantras? Or are they acting more like lobbyists with special interests? I haven't studied the issues in any depth, but I did watch a TED Talk Video with Clay Shirky who put them into a nutshell for me.

I wondered whether the same people who have a problem with SOPA and PIPA are just as outraged about a file-sharing site like MegaUpload being closed down.

I am not for censorship, but I'm also not for piracy. Like any issue, there is probably no simple right or wrong.

As Shrader said last week when talking about unity and church divisions, the parties on either side might not be evil or stupid.

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