Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP (Intellectual property) Act (PIPA) are two Bills the United States House of Representatives and the Unites States Senate are respectively besieged with.
If adopted, the laws, projected as efforts to stop copyright infringement by foreign websites, “will actually infringe free expression while harming the internet”, says Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that almost all online knowledge-seekers visit the world over.
To make the Internet users of the world aware of the damage the bills will cause to peoples’ right to ready reference on topics of their interest, the makers of this online encyclopedia have blacked out the English Wikipedia with effect from midnight of 18 January for 24 hours.
Explaining as to why the blacking out is justified, the free encyclopedia authorities say:
Wikipedians have chosen to black out the English Wikipedia for the first time ever, because we are concerned that SOPA and PIPA will severely inhibit people’s access to solely affect people in the United States: it will affect everyone around the world.
Why? SOPA and PIPA are badly drafted legislation that won’t be effective at their stated goal (to stop copyright infringement), and will cause serious damage to the free and open Internet. They put the burden on website owners to police user-contributed material and call for the unnecessary blocking of entire sites. Small sites won’t have sufficient resources to defend themselves. Big media companies may seek to cut off funding sources for their foreign competitors, even if copyright isn’t being infringed. Foreign sites will be blacklisted, which means they won’t show up in major search engines. And, SOPA and PIPA build a framework for future restrictions and suppression”.
How legislative wisdom guides the US law makers in this matter is a matter to be watched.
But to us it occurs that anything published by any author – including media persons and administrative personnel – should have no copyright component at all.
After publication, while acknowledging the original author, every published material must be recognized as public property with inherent eligibility to be shared by the peoples across the world so that the mistakes therein could be corrected in course of readers’ interaction or the correctness thereof could be more defined to help expand the knowledge of the peoples of the world.
Therefore, we fully endorse the unique protest the Wikipedians have raised against the two anti-knowledge bills.