Surely, anyone with the digital means to access a CDT post has by now come across the acronyms SOPA and PIPA. The two bills, framed by lobbyists and supporters as part of a campaign against the theft of intellectual property and counterfeit goods, are the subject of a lot of criticism. As both an effort to raise awareness and an act of protest, many websites worried by the true implications of these bills have chosen to black-out their content today. In terms of awareness, the blackout has been undeniably successful, while the BBC suggests that today’s campaign may have been equally effective as an act of political protest. Also see internet and human rights activist Ethan Zuckerman’s blog for further context and an explanation of the MIT Media Lab’s opposition to the bills.
China, infamous for its methods of controlling online activity and guiding online opinion, has served as ammunition in the battle against SOPA/PIPA. Commentators the world over are pointing to it as an example of the future that SOPA and PIPA might usher in. In a Global Voices post, Weiping Li translates some comments from Mainland China and Taiwan:
“Now they’re copying us to build up a wall. It’s like after climbing over the wall, we then bump into another one. It’s crazy!! (現在等於他們自己也照著我們這樣造個牆，於是我們以後翻牆出去，又被他們的牆牆住[，]這簡直瘋了嗎！)”
On China’s Sina Weibo microblogging service a Chinese Internet user with nickname “gap foreseeable (落差可見)” expresses concern over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which expected to [be] brought to a vote in U.S. House of Representatives before the end of the year. The Chinese government has long been criticized by Americans for obstructing the free flow of information through a filtering system popularly known as the Great Firewall. Now it is Chinese neitzens’ turn to sneer at proposals for a Made-in-America Great Firewall.
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