Whatever your stance on SOPA, closing down a global business to protest an American law is foolish. And to shutter Wikipedia — a crowd-funded international encyclopedia — in protest of a single national issue is even worse. It’s idiotic, it’s selfish and it sets a horrible, horrible precedent.
I guess Paul Carr isn’t aware of just how far US law can reach. Maybe he should talk with Richard O’Dwyer:
TVShack was a site that collected links to TV shows. Certainly, many of those shows were likely to be infringing – but TVShack did not host the content at all, it merely linked to it. Richard O’Dwyer, the guy who ran the site, was a student building an interesting project over in the UK. However, the US Department of Justice decided that he was not only a hardened criminal, but one who needed to be tried on US soil. Thus, it began extradition procedures. Even worse, nearly identical sites in the UK had already been found legal multiple times – with the court noting that having links to some infringing content was certainly not criminal copyright infringement. That makes things even more ridiculous, because extradition is only supposed to be allowed for activities that are criminal in both the US and the UK.
Basically, O’Dwyer, a student living in the UK, was running a site that was legal to run in the UK. The US is now extraditing O’Dwyer for violation of US laws. That’s a wide interpretation, but it’s a fairly accurate summary.
The US has a long and checkered history of strong-arming other nations to either implement similar laws or enforce US laws locally. And when it comes to laws such as SOPA and PIPA, the implications are far reaching. To think of them as a “single nation issue” is short-sighted and ignores the ultimate endgame. You might even describe it as idiotic.
Image courtesy of Blippitt.
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