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The Morning Grumpy – 1/18/2012

18 Jan

Only one piece of news for you to consume during your morning grumpy today.

1. Today, Reddit, Wikipedia, and hundreds of other large websites will go dark in protest of two proposed laws making their way through the halls of Congress. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House of Representatives and the PROTECT IP Act (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PIPA) in the Senate. What are these bills? I’ve written about them several times, but in case you missed those articles, here’s a quick explainer video.

Don’t like videos? Well, here’s an infographic for you. Click the image to “Embiggen” or visit this site to see it in its full enormous glory.

The Senate version of the bill is co-sponsored by both Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Sen. Chuck Schumer. Go ahead, contact them and tell them to leave the Internet alone.

Sergey Brin, the Co-Founder of Google had this to say about SOPA and PIPA.

In just two decades, the world wide web has transformed and democratized access to information all around the world. I am proud of the role Google has played alongside many others such as Yahoo, Wikipedia, and Twitter. Whether you are a student in an internet cafe in the developing world or a head of state of a wealthy nation, the knowledge of the world is at your fingertips.

Of course, offering these services has come with its challenges. Multiple countries have sought to suppress the flow of information to serve their own political goals. At various times notable Google websites have been blocked in China, Iran, Libya (prior to their revolution), Tunisia (also prior to revolution), and others. For our own websites and for the internet as a whole we have worked tirelessly to combat internet censorship around the world alongside governments and NGO promoting free speech.

Thus, imagine my astonishment when the newest threat to free speech has come from none other but the United States. Two bills currently making their way through congress — SOPA and PIPA — give the US government and copyright holders extraordinary powers including the ability to hijack DNS and censor search results (and this is even without so much as a proper court trial). While I support their goal of reducing copyright infringement (which I don’t believe these acts would accomplish), I am shocked that our lawmakers would contemplate such measures that would put us on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world.

This is why I signed on to the following open letter with many other founders –

The letter was co-signed by the founders of Netscape, Yahoo!, Twitter, YouTube, Mozilla, EBay, LinkedIn, Flickr, Paypal, Craigslist, The Huffington Post, Wikipedia, and Blogger. We can trust them or we can trust Senators and Representatives who know little about the core functionality of the Internet and have been influenced by $94MM of entertainment industry lobbying in the last year.

Fact Of The Day: The first Google Doodle was in honor of the Burning Man Festival of 1998.  The doodle was designed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin to notify users of their absence in case the servers crashed.

Quote Of The Day: “My atheism is true piety towards the universe and denies only gods fashioned by men in their own image, to be servants of their human interests.” – George Santayana

Bible Verse Of The Day: “If two men, a man and his countryman, are struggling together, and the wife of one comes near to deliver her husband from the hand of the one who is striking him, and puts out her hand and seizes his genitals, then you shall cut off her hand; you shall not show pity.” – Deuteronomy 25:11-12

Song Of The Day: “Tell Me A Tale” – Michael Kiwanuka (Can’t stop hitting repeat on the iPod)

I’m feeling quite a few songs right now, thought I’d share more than just one today.

Song Of The Day, Part 2: “Nosferatu” – Wise Blood

Song Of The Day, Part 3: “This Head I Hold” – Electric Guest (Guaranteed to soon be in an ad for Apple or a quasi-cool sub-compact card)

Follow me on Twitter: @ChrisSmithAV

Email me links, tips, story ideas: chrissmithbuffalo[@]