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Clay Shirky: Why SOPA is a bad idea

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In this recent TED talk, Clay Shirky makes a spot on, scary, fantastic argument why SOPA, PIPA and their brethren bills are so terribly damaging. Plus, he puts the bills into their historical context – I for one really hadn’t noticed how directly they align with former content industry initiatives like the DMCA and others. There’s a strong vector at work here, and it’s a hurtful one.

Must watch!

On the other hand, what we’re seeing here is a coming-of-age moment for the “other side” – the internet community at large, the free culture & open source communities, the technology companies.

With a Web-wide protest on Wednesday that includes a 24-hour shutdown of the English-language Wikipedia, the legislative battle over two Internet piracy bills has reached an extraordinary moment — a political coming of age for a relatively young and disorganized industry that has largely steered clear of lobbying and other political games in Washington.

So while you’re at it, have a look at this New York Times article: A Political Coming of Age for the Tech Industry.

A Trainwreck Called SOPA

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The Washington Post just had a great article about the horrible train wreck called SOPA that we’ve all been watching:

When you have a signed letter from the engineers responsible for creating the Internet pointing out that this bill would jeopardize our cybersecurity, balkanize the Internet and create a climate of uncertainty that would stifle innovation, it seems odd to ignore it. As a general rule, when the people saying that this will have a horrible, chilling impact on something are the ones who created that thing in the first place, and the people who are saying, “Oh, no, it’ll be fine, it only targets the bad actors” are members of the Motion Picture Association of America, it seems obvious whose opinion you should heed.

And this just about sums it up better than anything, no?