Wikipedia goes on strike, and Congress listens

Two bills were swiftly moving through the Senate and House which were aimed at stopping Internet piracy of copyrighted materials, but which were far too broad in their reach. For example, they would have made a site such as Wikipedia responsible for determining whether all the content at any site it linked was legal. Wikipedia saw this as a threat to its very existence, and went into action. Last night the online encyclopedia went dark for 24 hours, directing readers to a statement about the two proposed laws and the need to stop them. By mid-day today, as reported at the New York Times, a host of senators and congressmen who had supported the bills backed off, saying that while the piracy issue was important, the bill should be written carefully and not rammed through. Funny, I thought (hah hah) that legislators were always on guard against thoughtlessly written bills that were being rammed through.

Not everyone is happy about the sudden turnaround. Former senator Christopher Dodd, who since leaving the Congress has found himself a comfortable perch as head of the Motion Picture Association, denounced Wikipedia’s one-day strike:

“Only days after the White House and chief sponsors of the legislation responded to the major concern expressed by opponents and then called for all parties to work cooperatively together, some technology business interests are resorting to stunts that punish their users or turn them into their corporate pawns, rather than coming to the table to find solutions to a problem that all now seem to agree is very real and damaging,” he said.

Three cheers for Wikipedia and its founder, Jimmy Wales.

Now if the same “flash-strike” technique could only be used to get Congress to stop importing Islam and the rest of the non-Western world into America, to eliminate our tyrannical anti-discrimination laws and the bureaucracies that enforce them, to repeal Obamacare, to get the federal government out of education, etc.

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Greg W. writes:

As someone else pointed out to me, people on Facebook are blowing it up with comments to call your congressmen and support “freedom” and “liberty”. Most of these are the same people who supported Obamacare.

So, they don’t want big government taking their internet away, but love government forcing them to buy health insurance.

LA replies:

Well, that’s consistent with the liberal paradigm of believing in complete freedom in the expressive and sexual area, but believing in complete government control in the economic area.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 18, 2012 03:05 PM | Send

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