The Stop Online Piracy Act now in front of Congress – and its Senate counterpart bill, the Protect IP Act, or PIPA, are both stirring up vigorous debates in political, media and IT circles. As originally proposed, SOPA would allow the US Department of Justice, as well as copyright holders, to seek court orders to bar web sites from displaying or promoting copyrighted material…including a practice we rely on around here, linking to relevant content from other outlets and from pop culture. SOPA’s very vocal opponents say it violates the 1st Amendment, and will in essence cripple the internet. This has spawned some very big players on the web to plan protests of SOPA…including Wikipedia, which has darkened its page today. This latest salvo got us talking about how much we rely on Wikipedia and sites like it…and also made us wonder about other ways the debate over SOPA is playing out, and Wikipedia’s influence on the outcome.
Brian Stelter reports on TV and digital media, and he’s been following the debate closely. Brady Carlson is our very own purveyor of all things web-related, and fills us in on some of the Wiki-memes sprouting up in response to the protest.