SOPA, PIPA, Google, and Wikipedia

Yesterday I was looking up Keith Hernandez on wikipedia when I came across the following banner from wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.  It read, “Imagine a world without wikipedia.”

So I did.

I played the “What is the first thing that comes into your mind?” game with the wikipedia banner and the following popped up in no particular order:

  • I can imagine a world — it’s called a library and they have real reference books there.
  • Wow, how presumptuous and arrogant has wikipedia become that Jimmy Wales can presume that the world would halt if his “precious” site stopped functioning?
  • Outside of seventh graders doing book reports, does anyone really use wikipedia so much that its loss would mean the end of anything?
  • I know that world.  It’s called five years ago.  And I made it through just fine.
  • Wow — that world sounds nice.  In that world I can watch a movie without having to pause and look up every reference, followed by the web-tornado link activity that results in me googling the lyrics to the Facts of Life.
  • What is wikipedia protesting? SOPA and PIPA?  I’ve never heard of them.  Let me look them up.  Dangit! Wikipedia is blacked out.  I’ll try googling it.  Dangit! Google is blacked out.
  • I know that world where wikipedia and google do not exist.  It is called North Korea.  Okay, wait.  Maybe I do not want to live in that world.

After finding a loophole in the wikipedia blackout (Oh, you press the “esc” key right after the page loads) I was able to look up SOPA and PIPA on wikipedia and find out what these important bills are all about.  Here is what I discovered:

SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) has two aims:  1) To protect intellectual property rights of content and media creators (See Music and Film peoples) and 2) To protect against counterfeit prescription drugs sold on the internet.

PIPA (Which is a shortened version of the PROTECT IP Act, which is the shortened version of the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011) seeks to prevent rogue websites from selling counterfeit goods (See Music and Film) on the internet.  To enforce this bill the government would create federal agents (see Jason Borne, Jack Bauer, and Michael Westen) who would protect and enforce copyrights by ALL MEANS NECESSARY.

Okay, I made that last part up.

But basically the driving force behind these two bills is the RIAA, the Recording Industry Association of America.  The RIAA has been after one central question since I was in college, “How can we stop piracy? — not the Somolian kind — the college past-time that was essentially invented and made popular by entities such as Napster, Gnutella, Limewire, and Bittorent.

Not that I want to wade too far into this debate, but here were some initial thoughts I had when I discovered that sites were protesting these acts:

1) I find it funny that the same logic driving Ron Paul’s campaign (No to bigger government) is the same logic driving wikipedia and google’s opposition to SOPA and PIPA.  And yet, Jimmy Wales is not a fan of Libertarianism.  He is simply opposed to people saying no to him, which is an understandable human condition.

2) I also find it funny that the RIAA wants to enforce a moral and ethical code against piracy.  This from the industry that blatantly pushes a musical ethos of hedonism.  I think to myself, “Wait a minute…you promote a “do what feels good” ideology in the lyrics, videos, and culture of your musicians and yet then want to also ask the government to arrest music pirates, many of whom are just doing what feels good?  Houston, we have a problem.

Let me keep going.

The RIAA recently released an article listing the top-selling artists of the OOs. The winners included Michael Jackson, who sang Don’t Stop Until You Get Enough, Nickleback, who wrote the song S.E.X., Kanye West, who rapped the song, Addiction,  and Britney Spears, singer of Gimmie More.

Seriously?  You want to stop people from following the dominant ideology of pop music that YOU PROMOTE AND MAKE MONEY OFF OF — namely, that people are not stopping until they get enough?  Where do you draw the line, RIAA?  You run to the government to protect YOUR interests from your interests?

3) This is very intolerant of companies like Google and Wikipedia to disagree with the belief that copyrights should be enforced and to go so far as to take a position AND to boycott.  Why not simply say something like, “While we disagree with the proposed Acts, we want to politely respect their unique viewpoints and worldview.”  This is very different from the Google Chrome “It Gets Better” Campaign that promotes such an air of tolerance. I found this PIPA/SOPA protest to be inconsistent with Google’s espoused worldview.


About Doug Hankins

Although not a Christian in his youth, Doug came to believe in Jesus during his teenage years. When not playing sports or pastoring Doug is probably spending time with his wife, reading a good book, or drinking some hot tea. Doug's first book Dawson Trotman: In His Own Words is available wherever books are sold. You can follow Doug on twitter.
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11 Responses to SOPA, PIPA, Google, and Wikipedia

  1. Divya says:

    Just wanted to say I got off the phone with my cable opeirdvr and cancelled my Showtime cable. I asked the CR rep to note WHY I did so and they understood and actually with out saying they support what I was doing, know what I am talking about and why I am doing it. HollyWood has made an enemy out of me for the last time because this time I am doing more then cancelling cable. I already stopped going to films in the theatre, I don’t buy a lot of things and now I am not getting Show Time when I loved the shows on it but my freedom is more important to me then a stupid tv show. The fear of letting Holly Wood run a law scares the hell out of me. People in Holly Wood don’t live in the real world and it’s time the real world showed Holly Wood it’s place. Good web site.!

  2. Clareana says:

    awesome blog to read…i enjoyed reading. keep posting.

  3. Amera says:

    Jan17DustD I am not eaaricmn but eaaricmn’s have to wake up and realize these bills would crush freedom of speech. Furthermore these bills plus the NDAA which past could very well lead to world war 3 but this time it is likely the good old USA would = Nazi Germany!I’ve met many US WW2 vets and I must say even if this does not ease into WW3, It essentially breaks everything your country has stood for, so stand up against this evil and injustice!

  4. Clecira says:

    i found this article very interesting and informative. it will definitely add to our knowledge.

  5. Branca says:

    thanks for the useful information.

  6. Altiva says:

    this website makes the difference, not all bloggers have the gift to explain in some worlds something so perplexing.

  7. Eduardo says:

    i love your blog, don’t find many that are so clear, it is nice to see that someone really understands. i really enjoyed reading this. thanks for the post.

  8. blake says:


    I see your point about doing what feels good and then wanting people to stop doing what feels good.

    However, I dont think what is being protested is that piracy is being taken away, but the shady way in which people want to inforce it without due process.

    Basically, I could turn you in, say you took my intellectual property and have your site banned from google and shut down and you could do nothing about it.

    Often in life, it isnt just what you do but how you do it.

    Derek Webb has some links on his twitter feed about what people are actually protesting concerning the issues at hand.

    Enjoy the blog. Keep writing.

    • Doug Hankins says:


      Good call. I think I tried to hint at that with my “BY ANY MEANS POSSIBLE” but I don’t think I explained enough.

      Yeah. Approach is important. Just ask those involved in Baptist life in America.

      • Zulfiqar says:

        Jan17drednoahl Never since the video games crash of the mid eighties have I been so cnnrecoed about the state of the games industry. I’ve never felt the need to voice my concerns before, sure that the industry could look after itself.Publishers hype, support SOPA/PITA, add forms of DRM, insinuate all gamers are pirates, require gamers to agree to an almost zero rights EULA, and then wonder why gamers don’t buy their products.The games industry crashed in the mid eighties simply because one too many crap games was published; the bond of consumer trust was broken. There are certain publishers I don’t trust anymore and I will never buy another game published by them again.I know it cuts both ways publishers want to trust gamers too. A reasonable compromise needs to be found between gamer and publisher that doesn’t infringe on my right to privacy or free speech.

    • Hamada says:

      Jan24 SOPA/PIPA are disgusting. They turn my oatmsch and make me want to spew my lunch in the ESA’s and my very own Texas representatives’ faces for having the audacity to trample my very human rights in such a well, Nazi fashion.I fought hard to protect the freedoms I now enjoy. I took a bullet to my right leg, a bullet to my right abdomen, and shrapnel in my left arm for those freedoms. I watched as many who I otherwise considered my family and friends, people I’d have happily given my life for, are wounded and killed in the defense of these freedoms.This is what we come home to ? Really?This is what we fought, what we continue to fight for?Their privilege (NOT right they can be stripped of office quite easily and by our whim) to take away our RIGHTS?I am disgusted. My wife is disgusted. My child is disgusted. My guild with whom I have led and played with for a decade are disgusted. My unit, these great men and women who fight to suppress tyranny such as this with their lives, are disgusted.LFG, it is a heavy burden. Continue our fight domestically that we must fight abroad. Keep our home safe from tyranny for us, so we have something worthwhile to return home to.Thank you.

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