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No Wikipedia For Costa Rica

Costa Rica Part of World Protest

Costa Rica Wikipedia BlackoutCosta Rica as the rest of the world will be shut out from the English version Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page today as part of a 24-hour shutdown by the free information site. The unprecedented step is being carried out to highlight the detrimental effects for two United State bills, SOPA and PIPA.

Why is Wikipedia involving itself it political issues despite being known for its relative neutrality? The two bills, SOPA which stands for “Stop Online Piracy Act” and PIPA, “Protect IP Act”, referring to intellectual property are an attempt by the United States government to pass bills that will stop copyright infringement by foreign websites. Wikipedia’s issue with the bills is that as drafted, they infringe on freedom of expression and stifles the Internet. In Wikipedia’s opinion the bills are not acceptable in a world where there is an open, secure and free Internet.

Currently, Wikipedia has approximately 25 million visitors a day worldwide. With the blackout it is expected that those numbers may rise to 30-40 million as people support they cause and want more information (Wikipedia has provided a page explaining the reasons for the blackout) on the protest and of course those who need information and didn’t know about the blackout.

The bill puts the onus on website owners to monitor user contributed material and call for the unnecessary blocking of the entire site if there are problems. For small sites the shutdown of their websites could be detrimental. For foreign sites, they could become blacklisted and will not show up in major search engines. In summary, the two bills in the opinion of Wikipedia will form the basis of suppression and restrictions.

Looking at a realistic point of view as a writer, it is important to try and get the story right. So many things have surfaced on the web and on websites that are completely inaccurate. Reporting deaths of individuals or inaccurate information seems not to be a problem for the Internet and social media. While it is important to report information, it used to be required that all news stories and information be verified prior to any printing or reporting of information. Today, it doesn’t matter if the information is right or wrong, it seems to be published and forget the consequences. Is that stifling information or should those that provide information be accountable for it, big or small?

Wikipedia Receives Support From Google

For Wikipedia, an open source of information is what the “free” service is all about. Reliance on user contributions is what fuels the website’s content. Should Wikipedia be responsible for the content that is provided by its user base? According to the website, they currently monitor the content of their postings and remove anything that may infringe on copyright laws. For Wikipedia, their content is based on an uncensored Internet that is free and open. As the largest encyclopedia the website provides a wide range of information at no cost to the general public. With the proposed legislation, that source of information may be restricted.

Is Wikipedia acting in self interest and protecting what it has built in the last ten years? Yes they are! In support of today’s initiative, Google in the United States has blacked out its familiar logo. WordPress http://wordpress.org/ has also join the cause blacking out some of their information as well. We will have to see how this protest plays out. Is it the start of many more “online” protests? We will have to wait and see. For now, the English version of Wikipedia is down…. perhaps its an opportunity to take up a new language… puedes tu hablar espanol?

 

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About the Author: Tee is Senior Editor of CostaRicaCLOSEUP.com and NBC's adventure dating series fans magazine LoveInTheWildFansMag.com, as well ascontributing editor to QRCodesUSA.org

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