Wednesday, January 18, 2012

24 hr Wikipedia blackout!!

Imagine you want to live, but cannot breathe. Imagine you want to dream but cannot sleep. Imagine you want to blog, but Blogger / Wordpress site isn't responding!! Oh yes, now you are imagining!! That's exactly what has happened to Wikipedia loyalists around the world today - me included.

Given below is the snapshot of the Wikipedia page as on 18th Jan, 2012 -


Why blackout?
Because of an act known as SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) which was introduced (not passed) in the US house last year and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act). Both are "primarily" aimed at curbing piracy and protecting IP. Prima facie, it seems to be a great idea.

What will happen if SOPA is passed?
Suppose we share a copyrighted content on our blog, video site (like YouTube) and we are caught by the law agencies, then the entire site (not just the blog page, the entire site like blogger / YouTube) will be removed from the Internet!! Shocking, isn't it? Not only that, the person who has supposedly used the copyright content will be liable for 5 yrs of imprisonment!! It will directly impact activities like blogging, tweeting, video sharing etc, stuffs that today's youth consider second only to brushing their teeth!! For example, if you want to sing a Michael Jackson song / dance to a Shakira number, that's O.K. However, if you feel like sharing it on, say YouTube, be prepared for some serious repercussions.

Is there anyone supporting the act?
There are some who are supporting the act though - the movie industry, music industry, tech companies. Basically, companies affected by piracy. Which, if you think about it, makes sense because piracy is eating into their margins. Piracy should definitely be curbed, but availability of free information / opinions should'nt be. No one supports piracy. End Piracy, Not freedom. If they had to bring this law, they should have done it before Internet and the World Wide Web became popular. Now it's too late.

For me, Wikipedia is second only to Google. Google search takes me to pages including Wikipedia. Google provides the route and Wikipedia - information! Without Wikipedia, we don't have any other relevant source for information (I know we have, allow me to exaggerate a bit). Without information, there won't be any decision making. Tough day today! These acts might not even see the light of the day. With US elections scheduled in 2012, no politician will dare to make a decision against their own people.

By the way, we can still access Wikipedia's English page
  1. Let the page load and before it gets to the above screen, click on 'stop' in your browser or press 'Esc' on the keyboard.
  2. The mobile version is working.
However, these are interesting stuffs happening. Lets keep our fingers crossed - and type somehow!!

PS: Can Google and Facebook take a page out of Wikipedia's book and blackout their services in India for a day in protest to what the Indian Govt is doing to them!! I must tell you, the impact will be loud and clear!!

14 comments:

  1. I definitely need this information. Had my doubts regarding the issue clear!

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  2. I think everyone is on banning spree...This is not acceptable...

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  3. Any bill to curb freedom of writing is surely going to fail in its objective!

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  4. interesting and informative post...

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  5. This thing is so annoying... And I agree @Rahul Bhatia..! Well, thanks for posting an article about this... I was already confused, as to what was happening in past few days. :D

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  6. very informative. clarified a lot of my doubts

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  7. informative post Binu.Had read about it in scattered bits and pieces but you have summarized it nicely.The web today is a mesh!sharing,piracy,duplicacy of content,open source/copyrights etc are so tightly coupled that banning/prohibiting anything is not easy..I agree,perhaps its too late to act now!

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  8. @Adi, Red Handed, Krishna, Ankit, Sujatha - Thanks for reading guys. Glad to clear the air :)

    @Saru - Yes everyone is.. And they are getting their much needed attention!!

    @Rahul - I agree. Freedom which is not misused will fail eventually!!

    @Rohit - Even I had read the articles in bits and pieces. Now people are coming up with comprehensive ones!!

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  9. even i was lost seeing the blackout screen.
    if google does this, the productivity of IT firm's would go to drain and many including me would treat it as a "succesful harthal" - somthing we are quite used to!

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  10. I am confused about one thing though. If the Bill is passes in USA, why and how will that affect me as an Indian?

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  11. @Sawan - I agree!! Would be fun, isnt it?? :D

    @Chintan - Thats because most of the sites we use have a ".com" domain, which is registered in the US!! And hence, we'll be affected too..

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  12. This was really informative. Seriously..imagine what would happen without Wikipedia!

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  13. Thank you. That was a lot of information, useful information!

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All yours..

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