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Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Who will win the battle?


I was doing some research yesterday when I suddenly realised that Wikipedia was not working: I got into a panic!
Yesterday, Internet users have had a small taste of what life would be without Wikipedia and other websites that risk to be negatively affected by new anti-piracy regulations coming from the US.

This is, in fact, the result of two acts, SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act), which aim at regulating the entire web, imposing a stricter form of control over online piracy. However, if on one side there is a large number of lobbies in favour of the acts, including the much criticised Tycoon media guru and pie-lover Rupert Murdoch, there is a large slice of businesses and personalities from the Silicon Valley which, backed by the White House, have strongly criticised the potential new laws.
The fact that Wikipedia took part in the protest, together with other players of the likes of Boing Boing and Reddit, represents a very strong signal for the congress men and lobbies, who seem to be losing the battle on its very first phases: 162 million unique visitors have experienced the Wikipedia blackout while 8 million Americans have managed to look up their congressional representatives on Wikipedia and started to protest over the new acts.

The first comforting results could already be seen yesterday when some of the congressional representatives were 'forced' to change their approach, pushing for structural changes in the acts. Protests through the Internet seem to have a much bigger and more effective impact than any other street demonstrations. Who will win the battle?