Tomorrow, 18th January, Reddit and English Wikipedia and quite a lot of WordPress and various other online communities, big and small, will be blacked-out from 5am, British time, to 5 again the next morning (midnight to midnight, Eastern Standard Time, or the hours Washington DC keeps). This is a protest against the SOPA and PIPA legislation: more links here. This is not actually a post directly about SOPA and PIPA, which none of us outside the US can actually do anything about anyway aside from note what this legislation is, why the US government is doing it, and, if you’re a geek with a talent for explaining stuff to politicians, writing to your MP and asking to meet with them to explain why threatening a website owner with five years in jail for the 21st-century equivalent of recording a film on your VCR with the intention of watching it over and over again is stupid.
There, I said I wasn’t going to talk about it. Excuse me. I’ll move on.
Why will the Tories fight foul? What does this have to do with US Congress legislating on the Internet?
On ZDNet Government, David Gewirtz writes: 5 reasons why SOPA, PROTECT-IP and other legislative idiocy will never die:
- You can’t really compete against consumer behavior.
- Fear sells.
- There’s a lot of money to be made from fear.
- Politicians need lobbyists.
- Lobbyists have a disproportionate influence on politicians.
First of all, let’s consider: assuming that the Tories want the Union to be preserved, what’s their best means of going about it? Continue reading