Several highly used websites are going dark tomorrow (Wednesday) for 12-24 hours to protest and raise awareness about the Stop Online Policy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). Sites that will be going dark include Wikipedia, Internet Archive, Reddit, Boing Boing, and others – see SOPAStrike for a continually updated list.
SOPA and PIPA are two pieces of legislature currently in play in Congress that could have significant effects on libraries and our users. SOPA is on hold for the moment, but PIPA is still scheduled for a cloture vote on January 24th.
So we’ve been reading up on SOPA and PIPA lately. Here are some resources we’ve found useful:
- Three related bills are in play – the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA), the Protect IP Act (the Senate version of SOPA, usually referred to as PIPA) and the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN Act), which has been proposed as an alternative to SOPA and PIPA. See the Khan Academy video for a helpful explanation.
- The American Library Association’s Washington office did a Quick Reference Guide comparing these bills (as of January 10).
- The Library Copyright Alliance (which includes the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, and the Association of Research Libraries) wrote a letter describing parts of SOPA that “could threaten important library and educational activities.”
- The Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote a bit on How SOPA Affects Students, Educators, and Libraries, including what it might mean for fair use and copyright clearance.
- EDUCAUSE published a list of concerns about SOPA’s potential effect on higher education institutions.
- A large group of internet pioneers and engineers wrote an open letter to Congress.
- TechDirt has been following the story pretty closely. Mike Masnick just posted yesterday with an Updated Analysis of SOPA and PIPA that explains how the newer, marked-up versions of the bills are still problematic.
- Boing Boing posted about SOPA and everyday Americans.
- PublicKnowledge explains the January 24th PIPA vote.
- ProPublica keeps track of where individual members of Congress stand on SOPA and PIPA.
- The NYTimes has an interview with Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia discussing tomorrow’s blackout. (Wales: “Student warning! Do your homework early!”)
- Chris Heald at Mashable talks about Why SOPA is Dangerous.
- Stephen Colbert also shared his take on SOPA. (Jon Stewart
not so muchworried that Wikipedia users would have to go to the library.)