Tomorrow, Wed the 18th, I will be supporting the (U.S.) internet blackout in protest of the two U.S. internet censorship bills SOPA and PIPA. So my site will essentially have a big protest sign draped over it for a day (this will be until midnight EST, I decided to follow the timeline Wikipedia is using for its blackout protest). That sign will be clickable to find out more about the problems with these bills and to send an email to your legislator about them. Wikipedia has a great synopsis of the problems with these bills.
I also want to announce that I’ve posted a much better video for my tutorial on the Spanish braid that is the “root” braid of the doubled, 14-loop letterbraid. My previous videos on it were embarrassingly blurry, so I am really happy to have a better one in place! Maybe it’ll encourage more braiders to try this braid, it is a VERY fun braid, with a lot of possible pattern and shape variations.
If you want to find out more about the internet protest, you can click on the black ribbon on the top right of the screen. It’ll lead you to some info, plus a call to action, which includes a very simple and easy “click here” email you can send to your representatives urging them to vote against the bills. The bills essentially would build a governmental censorship mechanism into the internet like China and other totalitarian regimes have. There would be a LOT of repercussions on free speech, much just by fear of being shut down. A site could be shut down if someone else who had been deemed a “rogue” (by of all things the entertainment industry) even left a comment on my little blog, or say started a blog on a bigger entity like WordPress, who hosts me. This mechanism would then be able to shut down the whole of wordpress. This is one little microcosm, of course! The impact would be over the whole world of internet communication.
Here’s a quote from Wikipedia (all of English-language Wikipedia is blacking itself out for 24 hrs–they are not neutral on this issue because they believe the bills threaten Wikipedia’s very existence):
Although the bills have been amended since their introduction, they are still deeply problematic. Among other serious problems in the current draft of the bills, the requirement exists for US-based sites to actively police links to purported infringing sites. These kinds of self-policing activities are non-sustainable for large, global sites – including ones like Wikipedia. The legislative language is ambiguous and overly broad, even though it touches on protected speech. Congress says it’s trying to protect the rights of copyright owners, but the “cure” that SOPA and PIPA represent is worse than the disease.
Here’s a link to Wikipedia’s continually updated “learn more” page.
Here’s a link to a statement by wikimedia legal counsel explaining the ramifications of SOPA and why it is such a threat to the internet, free speech and free access to information and ideas.