Yesterday’s ‘technology blackout’ was a pretty profound moment for our industry. Not often do corporations align their political and policy views. There is no overarching body (like the MPAA or RIAA) that binds Facebook, Google, Wikipedia and others together, beyond maybe coffee shops on the west coast. Nor do we voluntarily black out our own revenue streams (like Wikipedia did by going dark) for small causes. SOPA and PIPA unified a very spread out industry and for the first time showed the world what it would be like if they disappeared.
People can mock Wikipedia, but where else would you go to look for a complete discography of a relatively unknown 80’s rock band? You can mock LOLcats, but deep down we’ve all indulged in that guilty pleasure. Let’s face it: web media companies are vast empires now that are pivotal to our business and social infrastructure, and when all of them yell out against something in unison, that’s something we as a society should take seriously. And, I think a lot of people have.
No one has ever said throughout this entire process that software piracy is right. It should be outlawed. When Congress drafts a law that does that (and only that) most of us will support it. But, come on… Don’t take our Wikipedia away.
PS – The Day the LOLcats Died is a brilliant SOPA/PIPA protest song on YouTube posted a few days ago. Check it out.
- Ken Pickering, Development Manager, Security Intelligence