Wednesday, January 18, 2012


As I write this, the English language version of Wikipedia, the worldwide on-line encyclopedia, is unavailable. And it will be for the next 24 hours, give or take a few minutes. Along with several other popular websites. Note: Google, as usual, caved from their promise to join this boycott. What a surprise.

This is in protest to the Congress's so-called Stop On-line Piracy Act, or the Senate version, the Protect IP Act.

Under these new laws, any website that even posts a tiny segment of copyrighted material could be immediately and permanently shut down, with no legal recourse.

That means this blog could disappear. Which would, I know, bring great grief to you, the three people who read it. Because I have probably posted videos here that show clips of copyrighted material. I don't know what precisely, and I'm not going to go back through my last nine years of posts to find and remove them.

But someone could, if either of these bills passes. And I could lose my internet privileges. And go to jail.

We expect this sort of thing to happen in China. Or Iran. Or some other totalitarian regime.

We don't expect it to happen here.

In the meantime, since you can't access Wikipedia on-line, I suggest to you my very few but loyal readers to go to your library and find a book by Sinclair Lewis called It Can't Happen Here.

And be afraid. Be very afraid.

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