As has been reported all over the world and internet today the english pages of wikipedia have gone black in protest of SOPA and PIPA . You can see just an example of the coverage by following these links BBC , SKY , CNN.
Now wikipedia is far from the only site to go black and the BBC has a slide show that shows many more and how the sites are supporting the cause, its well worth a view as once again there are some really interesting ways of showing their support. You can view it Here
Now you might be wondering what SOPA and PIPA actually are and why are people making such a big fuss about it, you may also be wondering why a law that is essentially american should affect us and the net as a whole.
SOPA stands for Stop Online Piracy Act and PIPA Is short for Protect Interlectual Property Act.
They are basically both trying to do the same kind of things which as you can see from their names is to crack down on copyright infringement and illegal sharing. The problem lies in the ambiguous way in which these acts are going about doing this and in part whether the us government can be trusted to use the legislation in the way that it is meant for, Which as has been shown in the past with various governments in many different countries is unlikely. It will also give a lot of power to an industry that again in the past has shown itself to be unscrupulous in the way it deals with people and the people who it accuses of violating even the current laws.
Now im not going to claim that i understand everything about these to acts but fortunately people cleverer than me have gone through the acts and places like the BBC have tried to explain them.
BBC Explanation – Here
EFF – Here
CNN – Here
Wikipedia - Here
There is also this video Which is currently on the Rock Paper Shotgun Blackout page
The reason that its important that people outside of the USA also take note of these ACTS is that not only will it affect websites such as Facebook, YouTube and Wikipedia other sites that are based in the US, it will also affect funding for sites that are outside of the US and whats more where the us leads the rest of the world will follow.
You can’t think that the company’s that support these acts such as Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), News Corp and Walt Disney among many others some of which you can view in this google doc file HERE will not turn their gaze like Sauron to Europe and the rest of the world.