First they came for the Anarchists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not an anarchist.
Then they came for Muslims, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not muslim.
Then they came for Black Lives Matter, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not Black.
Then they came for the journalists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a journalist.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
After Pastor Martin Niemöller.
A blog post I wrote for work at http://hastac.org/blogs/ruby-sinreich/2012/01/17/stop-censorship-stop-pipasopa
HASTAC is joining with others around the U.S. and globally on the Internet to protest the outrageous SOPA/PIPA bill that – yes – is still making its way through Congress right now. Major organizations such Wikipedia,Mozilla, and many others are participating in a one-day black out, while others including Google, are using their home pages, as are we, to protest and inform about these frightening bills that would have a chilling impact on intellectual freedom and digital interaction. We were heartened by the news that the Obama administration is opposing the bills and so we chose to to stay online but with a banner on the site, but clearly the debate is far from over. The potential implications of this corporate and politically-motivated censorship upon academic freedom, especially digital scholarship, are simply staggering.
So many others have covered the issues around SOPA/PIPA so well (and my own understanding of the legislation is so comparatively tiny) that I won’t bother to rehash them but will link to some of the best below. Thanks to HASTACers Gerry Canavan for posting about SOPA last month and Alex Leavitt for today’s post about how SOPA opposition galvanized on Reddit. I highly recommend this 4-minute video that explains the legislation, including an important update at the end.