January 18, 2012 – SOPA and PIPA Effectively Dead

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) Have been Stopped… For Now

An Editorial Update, by Staff Editor PK

A message posted by Wikipedia, following the lifting of their website’s blackout.

Thank you.

The Wikipedia blackout is over — and you have spoken.

More than 162 million people saw our message asking if you could imagine a world without free knowledge. You said no. You shut down Congress’s switchboards. You melted their servers. Your voice was loud and strong. Millions of people have spoken in defense of a free and open Internet.

For us, this is not about money. It’s about knowledge. As a community of authors, editors, photographers, and programmers, we invite everyone to share and build upon our work.

Our mission is to empower and engage people to document the sum of all human knowledge, and to make it available to all humanity, in perpetuity. We care passionately about the rights of authors, because we are authors.

SOPA and PIPA are not dead: they are waiting in the shadows. What’s happened in the last 24 hours, though, is extraordinary. The Internet has enabled creativity, knowledge, and innovation to shine, and as Wikipedia went dark, you’ve directed your energy to protecting it.

We’re turning the lights back on. Help us keep them shining brightly.

January 18th of 2012, truly is a day that will live in Infamy for the history of the internet. It was the day that millions of people from across the United States, and from around the world stood up and told the American government, that they will not tolerate the passing of two bills that had the very real potential to cause harm to the internet, the world’s greatest resource of human knowledge. On January 18th, thousands of websites went dark in protest of the legislation which would give governments and private companies, the ability to shut down websites and tamper with the very inner workings of the internet, in an attempt to stop copyright infringement and electronic piracy of protected content.

We strongly encourage Krypton Radio listeners to continue helping support the full removal of these bills, and let your government representatives know that existing laws with the right adjustments will help to combat the issues of online piracy and copyright infringement. The real truth is, that there is no permanent way to stop these illegal activities; and SOPA and PIPA would simply give private companies and law enforcement agencies the power to gut sections of the internet without warning, in an overtly futile attempt to stop the theft and piracy.

Senators Notice the Stink

So far, according to Ars Technica, eighteen U.S. Senators have backed away from PIPA, the Senate version of the nuclear-option bill that would give big media the legal right to carve off hunks of the Internet with a chain saw whenever they see something they don’t like on a web site (whether it’s on American soil or not).  The opposition expressed by millions of voices could not be ignored, and neither can the stink from their briefcases.  At one point there was a majority in support of the bill in the Senate, but this is now not the case.  Most of the retractions of support are from the Republican side, which is a surprise – only three of the retractions are Democrats.   The chances of the bill passing now are slim, but letting them up off the mat now would be a mistake.  We as a people need to make sure they don’t try this idea again.

Related to this, in a disturbing 6-3 decision, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that copyrighted works that have passed into the public domain can now be re-copyrighted to conform with the duration of copyright durations observed by other countries in accordance with the an international copyright treaty known as the Berne Convention.  This will only affect certain works, and only for the time it takes for the period of discrepancy between the United States period of copyright and the period described by the Berne Convention to elapse.  Still, it’s a problem for people who make their livings on public domain material who now discover that what they once had free access to is now taken away from them.



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