by Mike Masnick
Thu, Mar 15th 2012 8:37am
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Feb 8th 2012 3:25am
from the about-time dept
Meanwhile, Leslie Harris from CDT (who was among those who participated in the effort) has written an interesting article for ABC News that pulls out many of the key lessons from the SOPA/PIPA fight... starting with the fact that this wasn't a top-down operation driven by Google or any other party.
Rather, the protest was decentralized and organic. The tsunami of opposition transcended political divides, with extensive participation from individuals and groups on both the left and the right. It was driven by a commonality of interest in the continued vitality of social networking and "user-generated content" sites – an interest broadly and actively shared by both rank-and-file Internet users and the technology innovation community (entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, technology companies, bloggers, established Internet advocacy groups like CDT and Public Knowledge and savvy new online grassroots organizations).Harris' piece goes on to make some other key points:
Those social networking tools enabled that common interest to be harnessed to the common purpose of defeating PIPA and SOPA. This online uprising was not a "tactic". MPAA Chairman Christopher Dodd told the New York Times that "one of the lessons learned" during this event is that the 2-plus million people working in the film industry "need to pipe up," as the Times put it. But Internet users are not "astroturf" and the notion that next time the content community just needs to get its own Internet campaign is entirely the wrong message to take away from this seminal event.
- The dramatic online mobilization carries lasting implications for Internet policy.
- A more cautious approach requires a more open process.
- Ignorance about how the Internet works is no longer an option.
- Overreaching Internet-related legislation is no longer a successful strategy.
- The Internet community is borderless, and the whole world will be watching.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jan 25th 2012 5:56am
from the you-want-abuse-of-power? dept
Wales argued that these transparent statements make the MPAA out to be a corrupt, Congress-buying organization. He also challenged Dodd’s assertion that Wikipedia’s decision to blackout its site in protest of SOPA, an effort Wales said was a “massive success,” constituted an abuse of power.Well, of course, to Dodd, actual democracy is an abuse of power. He prefers backroom dealing to actually letting the people out to have their say...
10 million people contacted Congress, Wales said. “That’s not an abuse of power, that’s democracy,” he said. “[Dodd] had best get used to it.”
by Marcus Carab
Thu, Jan 19th 2012 10:24pm
from the stupidity-online?-well-I-never! dept
Unsurprisingly, yesterday's Wikipedia blackout caused a lot of reaction on Twitter. The whole point of a move like this is to shock people, get their attention, and make them start asking questions—and the primary target is those who don't already know about the issue at hand. So it's also unsurprising that some of the reactions were pretty damn stupid. And since there's nothing the internet likes more than making fun of stupid people, it's once again unsurprising that a few different sources decided to catalogue and mock them.
@herpderpedia sprung up to retweet the various freak-outs and desperate pleas of stymied users—mostly students. There's a lot of misdirected anger, with people blaming Obama or denouncing Wikipedia, and a lot of general ignorance: many thought the site had already been shuttered forever, or that the blackout itself was mandated by congress. And since memes are always in their fifth stage of irony for some people while others have yet discover them, there are also quite a few tweets that look like parodies.
But what I see most of all are questions. People are asking why? in huge numbers, and that's fantastic. Granted, a lot of them are directing their questions to the wrong people, and it's not as if all of them are going to use this as a starting point to genuinely learn more about these issues. But some will. And you can bet they'll all be paying more attention to SOPA/PIPA now—not to mention any future legislation that sparks chatter about Wikipedia's Black Wednesday.
Some will say they shouldn't be asking when the blackout page provides plenty of information, but when you look closer you see that several tweets complain about complicated language and unclear explanations, and most are just shouts of extreme frustration (remember, these are all people with a looming deadline on some other project). More importantly, this speaks of broader themes online: people have two primary means of finding information now—search and social—and when one fails, they go to the other. When you want fast facts you Google something then click through to Wikipedia, but when you have a more immediate human need borne of panic—OMG OMG OMG OMG WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED TO WIKIPEDIA? CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME? Omg [actual tweet]—you turn to your social circles.
But it's the internet, and there will be mockery, and that's fine. I just hope the mockers realize that this isn't like when Kim Jong Il died and some Twitter users thought it was Lil Kim (that was both less excusable and more hilarious). Beneath the surface idiocy, most of these people have been nudged in the right direction by Wikipedia's blackout, even if only slightly—and their reactions provide a lot of insight if you can resist taking the potshots, most of which are too easy anyway.
Now that's out of the way, here are some easy potshots at tweets:
fuck jimmy wales. fuck him and fuck wikipedia. dickhead my works taking ages to do now cos i goota go on so many wesbits.wt a prick.'protest [What sort of company employs a quasi-illiterate to surf Wikipedia all day? I'm genuinely curious]
WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? WHY AM I THE LAST TO KNOW WIKIPEDIA IS BLOCKED! I BE ON THERE DAILY!!! [I like that she is less annoyed about losing Wikipedia than she is about the fact nobody told her. I've often thought SOPA/PIPA supporters are just mad because they were the last to find out about free movies.]
I will cry if they shut down Wikipedia forever.. :'( [Why, because you won't be able to look up "sissy"?]
WHY THE FUCK IS MY WIKIPEDIA BEING A BLACK ONE I DIDNT WANT THAT OH GOD IM SO MAD [Swap "Wikipedia" with "President" and this would be the perfect redneck tweet]
I think Wikipedia planned this shit. [Really? I figured it was a typo.]
Gay no Wikipedia!? I was about to search something fucking bitch.. ["The page 'Something fucking bitch' does not exist. You can ask for it to be created, but consider checking the search results below to see whether the topic is already covered." Incidentally, the first result is "Flavor of Love (season 1)"]
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jan 18th 2012 9:35pm
from the 4.5-million-signed-google-petition dept
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jan 18th 2012 12:31pm
from the living-in-denial dept
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jan 17th 2012 1:49pm
from the we'll-see-tomorrow dept
“It is ironic that a website dedicated to providing information is spreading misinformation about the Stop Online Piracy Act," Smith said in a statement on Tuesday. "The bill will not harm Wikipedia, domestic blogs or social networking sites. This publicity stunt does a disservice to its users by promoting fear instead of facts. Perhaps during the blackout, Internet users can look elsewhere for an accurate definition of online piracy."Smith, as per pretty much all of his statements on SOPA is either misinformed, disingenuous... or just lying. First of all, the anti-circumvention provisions certainly do apply to domestic sites, including Wikipedia. And as a site that provides information, it could certainly run afoul of those provisions. But, more to the point, Wikipedia isn't just speaking out because this bill impacts Wikipedia directly, but because of its wider concern over what this bill represents: a blacklist that seeks to block access to websites. You can be secure that it won't impact you and still take issue with the principle behind the bill.
It's a shame that Lamar Smith can't understand that, despite so many people online understanding it. I assume some of those people may give Rep. Smith a call tomorrow to express that point to him directly.
Meanwhile... shocker of shockers, the MPAA is out with a statement using a very similar phrase concerning the blackouts. Gee, kinda makes you wonder if Lamar Smith and the MPAA are consulting on talking points:
It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information use their services. It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today. It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests.This is hilarious only in that we're talking about the MPAA here, who is famous for abusing its powers and "intentionally skewing the facts to incite" people (mainly in Congress) "in order to further their corporate interests." Seriously, who honestly thinks that Wikipedia, Reddit and others are shutting down their sites to "further their corporate interests?" The MPAA -- as per usual, remains totally, and completely tone deaf to what's going on.
A so-called “blackout” is yet another gimmick, albeit a dangerous one, designed to punish elected and administration officials who are working diligently to protect American jobs from foreign criminals. It is our hope that the White House and the Congress will call on those who intend to stage this “blackout” to stop the hyperbole and PR stunts and engage in meaningful efforts to combat piracy.”
The MPAA wants SOPA to further its corporate interests. Wikipedia is a non-profit. Its interest is in stopping the MPAA from mucking up the internet, not in "furthering its corporate interests." Once again, it would be nice if the MPAA and Lamar Smith had the decency to be honest on this issue, but they're still working by the old playbook... the one where you lie and donate to campaigns until Congress gives you the laws you want, no matter how unnecessary or damaging they may be. They're seriously underestimating what's been activated online over the past few months. It's a massive miscalculation to brush off these legitimate concerns as a publicity stunt.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jan 17th 2012 10:32am
from the join-the-crowd dept
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jan 16th 2012 11:59am
from the pipa-protests dept
In fact, it appears they're going even further than Reddit, who is going down for 12 hours. All English-language pages on Wikipedia will go dark for 24 hours -- starting at midnight DC time on Wednesday. For what it's worth, I've been told by multiple Congressional staffers that Wikipedia is a tool they all rely on pretty much every day -- so expect this to get some attention. The site will also be replaced with an action alert, asking people to call and write Congress -- and Jimmy says his goal is to "melt the phone lines." Considering how much usage Wikipedia gets, that's entirely possible.
Student warning!Do your homework early.Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday! #sopa— Jimmy Wales (@jimmy_wales) January 16, 2012
This is a big move, and it's great to see Jimmy and the community willing to take a stand like this. Jimmy is also tweeting up a storm about why this is so important. He's also responding to false claims that the bills are "dead," by noting that SOPA (1) may rise again and (2) that PIPA is still alive and well.
Either way, come Wednesday, I'm curious if Congress is still going to be claiming that it's just a "small minority" of people who dislike these bills.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jan 13th 2012 1:13pm
from the speak-up dept
I'm all in favor of it, and I think it would be great if we could act quickly to coordinate with Reddit. I'd like to talk to our government affairs advisor to see if they agree on this as useful timing, but assuming that's a greenlight, I think that matching what Reddit does (but in our own way of course) per the emerging consensus on how to do it, is a good idea. But that means we need to move forward quickly on a concrete proposal and vote - we don't have the luxury of time that we usually have, in terms of negotiating with each other for weeks about what's exactly the best possible thing to do. As I understand it, the Foundation is talking to people about how we can geolocate and guide people to their Congressperson, etc. Geoff will know about that. Our task is to decide to do it with a thumbs up / thumbs down vote.So, speak up, Wikipedians...