If you were out and about on the Internet today, you probably noticed that Google, Wikipedia, WordPress, and many other prominent Web Sites were observing the Internet Blackout in one way or another, whether by taking down their regular content for the day, by placing blackout censorship
marks over their usual images, or by asking people to sign petitions and contact their elected representatives. I have just sent this to my Senators and Congressmen:
The SOPA and PIPA bills claim that they are meant to prevent piracy and protect intellectual property, but they will damage my IP and, as far as I can tell, increase piracy. Both bills will do this by interfering with legitimate sharing of copyrighted material under Creative Commons and other Free licenses.
My job as Project Manager for Replacing Textbooks is to create such materials for millions of children in the US and around the world. I don’t know whether you remember that in the Betamax case (Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc.), Fred Rogers‘s testimony that he wanted videos of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood shared was a key element in the decision to make it legal to record TV programs for time-shifting. Our sharing of education, aimed at ending global poverty, is far more consequential than that, but it is fundamentally the same idea.