“Imagine a World without Free Knowledge”

by on January 20, 2012 in Must Sees with No Comments »

For many students (and many people in general!), being informed and engaged in politics can feel intimidating, abstract, or even a big waste of time. But this week, we have yet another reminder that, in fact, “the political is the personal, and the personal is political.” If you weren’t following the news, you may have found out about two bills in Congress merely by visiting some of your favorite websites. Google, Wikipedia, Twitter, Wired and dozens of other sites have been staging protests to these bills.

How does a website protest?!

Well, first of all, these are anti-piracy bills. They are the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), and they aim (in theory) to crack down on mostly foreign websites which traffic pirated movies, music and other goods. All of this sounds great, but these bills, if passed, would radically expand the enforcement of copyrights in a way critics say could undermine a free and open internet. Given how the world’s toughest regimes were shaken as a direct result of social media outlets, the timing of these bills is ironically dangerous.

Websites have been protesting by creating blackouts or adding black “censored” bars across material on their sites. If this was startling to some, indeed it should be! The effects of these bills could be far-reaching and could set a very dangerous precedent worldwide.

Check out this short video from Fight for the Future, a non-profit working to defend the internet:

Think this is not relevant to your life as a free citizen? Or as a student wanting to have free access to diverse and up-to-date media outlets? Every day politics is shaping our little every-day lives every day.

Though our freedoms and liberties have taken centuries to build, they can deteriorate ever so quickly . . . especially when we‘re not paying attention.

You can read more here.

What do YOU think?


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