Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I guess I need to write a SOPA Wikipedia something post now

I run in online circles of tech-weenies, and lately the talk about SOPA has gained even more traction than the talk about how George Lucas has ruined his films, or the talk about Ron Paul, or whatever talk that the tech-weenies are supposed to talk about.

But the tech-weenies are mightily disturbed that SOPA and PIPA are not the number one topic on every street corner in the United States of America. The Internet as we know it is about to disappear into Homogenized Corporate Control, and no one cares. Or those who do care lose their jobs. (Update: David Seaman is now a contributor to Business Insider again.) But the 99 percent don't - uh, wait a minute, I didn't mean to use the term 99 percent to describe the people who don't care about SOPA, because the 99 percent are the good guys, and that means that I'm the one percent and I'm a bad guy and Obama and Ron Paul will tax me and...

Excuse me. Let me continue.

Anyway, tech-weenies everywhere are jumping up and down in their Zappos shoes because finally, the world is paying attention to the grave danger that awaits it. Or at least the world will pay attention shortly.

Wikipedia, you see, is going black.

No, I'm not saying that Jimmy Wales has sold Wikipedia to the Wayans family.

What I am saying is that for a 24-hour period, Wikipedia will divert attention from its data and let people know that SOPA and PIPA are very very bad.

This, of course, will result in intensive, in-depth coverage of the ramifications of the proposed legislation, its impact on legitimate foreign commerce, the "due process" issues involved, and the moneyed interests that are aligned on both sides of the bill.

And if you believe that you'll see that level of in-depth coverage over the next couple of days, I'll sell you a bridge in Brooklyn at a steep discount.

Here's what the 11:00 pm happy news will look like in some West Coast city tonight.

HAPPY NEWSWOMAN: And in other news, Wikipedia has gone black!

HAPPY NEWSMAN: Wikipedia? Isn't that the online encyclopedia?

HAPPY NEWSWOMAN: Yes, Bruce. Wikipedia has gone black to protest SOPA!

HAPPY NEWSMAN: Protest SOPA? Don't those Wikipedia people bathe?

HAPPY NEWSWOMAN: Ha ha ha! In other news...

Of course, Wikipedia is not the only online property that will show its opposition to SOPA. eSarcasm has indicated its "me too" attitude:

eSarcasm has announced it is joining with its comrades Reddit and Wikipedia to combat the evils of Internet censorship. On Wednesday, January 18, this Web site will go dark for 12 hours to protest SOPA and PIPA, two proposed laws we don’t really understand but know are bad because everyone we know says so.

And that really sums it up.

Now I don't know whether I'd call Wikipedia's actions an ineffective move. After all, more people will hear about the Wikipedia blackout than ever heard about the NVIDIA or GoDaddy boycotts.

But if you're an American, and you step in the voting booth in November, will you even remember what SOPA stands for?

(Stop Online Piracy Act, in case you've already forgotten.)
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