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We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people. ~John F. Kennedy
While we might disagree with what is said or printed or accessed; while we might take issue with those that say print or access it –we certainly cannot disagree or take issue with their right to say, print or access it. To do so, is to take away your own right. For one day someone else may dispute what you say, print or access and your cries will fall upon silent ears.
What is appropriate is to empower those that feel they are being cheated or stolen from with laws that can equip them with the power to redress their grievance. Eliminate the wart, do not cut off the arm instead. The legislation presently pending may not be the best solution to the problem.
One important thing to consider before you fall on either side of the SOPA/PIPA battle is to look at those that support it and those that oppose it. The proponent list does not include a single individual — the unit upon which this country was originally formed. The proponents are exclusively (if not almost exclusively) the new “persons” under recent law.
The freedom to disseminate information has always been a cornerstone of our freedoms, of our country – a country of the people, by the people and for the people — the question of late, it appears to me is “which people are we talking about these days?”
- Wikipedia 24 hour black out – a protest against SOPA and PIPA (liberatemedia.com)
- SlashGear 101: SOPA and PIPA explained in plain English (slashgear.com)
- Where Do SOPA and PIPA Stand Now? (mashable.com)
- Why we’re taking Wikipedia down for a day (newstatesman.com)
Wikileaks, Julian Assange. These are words that are plastered all over the news. You’d be hard pressed to avoid them even with a cursory glance at the newspaper. The news is replete with information regarding Assange’s sex life and the rape charges against him, the damage being caused by the leaking information and the hacktivists that are taking matters into their own hands and bombarding sites that are anti-WikiLeaks.
Time to dust off the Constitutional Hat, as we would often say in law school when constitutional law issues reared their heads. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press — these freedoms that all too often are tossed under the bed in good times are being brought back out and touted by both sides. It will be interesting how this all plays out in the long run.
Here’s an interesting thought to throw in the mix. Our government is trying desperately to stop the leaking information and is really pissed off that it got out there at all. It appears that the government and political pressure are the driving forces behind shutting down Assange and WikiLeaks as evidenced by Lieberman’s muscling Amazon and others to drop their hosting and the pressure placed upon paypal and credit card companies to drop their payment options for the site. Interesting isn’t it, when one considers that this country to a great measure came to be by virtue of the same leaking of information.
Benjamin Franklin did it when he released letters between the Royal Governor of Massachusetts and the British throne. Those letters, which were confidential in nature and not meant to be made public, many believed were what inflamed an already unsettled body of colonists and was instrumental in the Revolutionary War.
Interesting isn’t it that some of the very essence of what helped to form this country – leaking information – is now looked upon as one of the worst crimes in history according to the government’s condemnation of a similar act by Assange’s site. Perhaps the only difference is that this time, our government is on the receiving end.