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Internet Outage — Not us, everyone!

In Congress, there are a couple of bills that, on the surface, look relatively clear. Publishers and makers are frustrated by the limited tools they have to stop folk from stealing their materials and re-publishing them on the internet.

Stopping internet piracy sounds like a good thing, until you understand what is being asked for.

If, as an example, I were to actually put something relevant on my faculty web site and I put a link to something that turns out to be pirated, the new law would let the copyright owners ban access to my faculty web site. Which would then ban access to all of Genesee’s faculty web sites which, in the end, would affect all of Genesee’s web sites.

All because I put a link on my web site. I have no pirated material, I have no vested interest in the pirated material and, in fact, it could be a lesson in ‘here is pirated material — do not do this.’

This is only a US law. It only affects computers and servers in the US. It does nothing for the gazillion of devices in the rest of the world — where a good deal of the pirated material lies.

In response to this not-so-well-thought-out proposal, a number of web sites will be ‘on strike’ tomorrow – Wednesday, January 18. If you can’t get to your favorite web sites, it may be because they’ve taken themselves offline in protest. A partial list of participants — and links to things you can do — is available here: http://sopastrike.com/

Stealing is wrong. Sending me to jail because I happen to be a casual acquaintance with a thief is not fair.

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