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January 18, 2012

Wikipedia Takes a Holiday

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

If you happen to visit the Wikipedia site today, specifically the English language Wikipedia site, you’ll see a message about a world without free knowledge. I have some issues with that.

The reason Wikipedia, along with other sites, is protesting is because of pending legislation in Your Nation’s Capital regarding copyright protection.

I like my copyrights protected, thank you. I think thieves should be punished, and I think ISPs and web sites need to be responsible, even if it’s merely a link to pirated material. That’s because I lose money ever day from pirated copies of my work. It sucks.

Wikipedia obviously feels different. That’s okay. They distribute mediocre, barely-accurate, crowd-sourced information. It’s not terrible, but it’s not the same high quality as you can get when you — Oh, I don’t know — buy a book.

So Wikipedia can take its holiday. I don’t think it will prove anything, other than driving people elsewhere for their free, mediocre information.

And if you really want to use Wikipedia, get the Chrome browser and visit the French language Wikipedia site. Then click the button on top of the browser window to translate the page into English.

UPDATE: I wrote this post for Wednesday, January 18. Sadly, I screwed up the scheduling software, so it didn’t appear until 36 hours later. The Wikipedia shutdown is over.

2 Comments

  1. As someone who bought, enjoyed, and benefited from your books as I was getting into computers in the 90s, I completely understand your views. My problem with SOPA/PIPA is for three main reasons:
    1) Too broad powers granted to big media, and the complete elimination of due process.
    2) It seems like the purpose of the law is to let entrenched industries keep their existing business models rather than evolving to maximize the efficiency of digital distribution. I believe publishers serve a very useful purpose in the book industry; however when students need to pay $100+ for a text book that they can’t return or resell or lend to friends (things that they could do with traditional print) it seems like technological progress is reducing consumer benefits.
    3) Going after the wrong people – I have no problem when the person who is uploading pirated content is penalized. But if the streamer is punished, it seems to be fighting a losing battle using legislation. People will always gravitate towards the cheapest source. To stop people from consuming free (illegal) content, I wonder if the level of legislation necessary would be onerous.

    Comment by sriksrid — January 22, 2012 @ 12:24 pm

  2. I can agree with your points. A bigger issue is that those same Big Media companies will shut down the free Internet if the piracy doesn’t stop. They have the power to do so; they’ve spent years positioning themselves as Internet providers. So if something isn’t done to stem the piracy, you’ll see the Internet provided ala cable TV, with certain key websites given top speeds and everyone else tiered down to something painfully slow and useless. It can happen. Then it will make people beg for SOPA-like laws.

    Comment by admin — January 22, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

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