Sharing Is Caring: Defend Our Freedom To Share (Or Why SOPA is a Bad Idea)

We wrote earlier this week about the 18 January blackout protests world wide of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act). Also, the international Global community reported about it, and TED has released a video of professor Clay Shirky called “Defend Our Freedom To Share (Or Why SOPA is a Bad Idea)”.

Clay Shirky, an American writer, an adjunct professor in New York University’s  Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) and is a Distinguished Writer in Residence in the Journalism Department. His work focuses on the rising usefulness of decentralized technologies such as peer-to-peer, wireless networks, social software and open-source development. Shirky believes that new technologies enabling loose ­collaboration — and taking advantage of “spare” brainpower — will change the way society works.

Shirky says: “The real effects of SOPA and PIPA are going to be different than the proposed effects. The threat, in fact, is this inversion of the burden of proof, where we suddenly are all treated like thieves at every moment we’re given the freedom to create, to produce, or to share. And the people who provide those capabilities to us—the YouTubes and Facebooks, the Twitters and TEDs—are in the business of having to police us or being on the hook for contributory infringement.”

Shirky also calls out the global online community to take an action asking them to preserve their rights to share,  delivering a “proper manifesto — a call to defend our freedom to create, discuss, link and share, rather than passively consume.”

“Because the biggest producers of content on the internet are not Google and Yahoo — they’re us — we’re the ones getting policed,” he explains. “The real threat to the enactment of PIPA and SOPA is our ability to share things with one another.”

This video gives us better understanding of the context and motivations for SOPA/PIPA, explaining why the bill passing before congress is bad.

Selected resources:

Global Online Community Protests U.S. Anti-Piracy Bills

Defend our freedom to share (or why SOPA is a bad idea)

Danica is an internet researcher, consultant and speaker on social media and digital inclusion. Her academic research is rooted in her own practical experiences breaking down digital walls in central European society. She is Tech, and Research editor for Australian Science. Read more of her work at her blog, and follow her on twitter @DanicaR.

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