Wondrous Words Wednesday is hosted by Bermudaonion’s Weblog. Kathy says: “Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading.”
My words today are SOPA, PIPA, and OPEN. You may have seen the first two if you’ve been wandering around the Web at all today.
SOPA stands for Stop Online Piracy Act, or H.R. 3261. The Senate’s similar bill, S.968, is PIPA, or Protect Intellectual Property Act. A third bill is also in the works, purported to be less draconian than the other two. It’s acronym is OPEN for, I think, Online Protection and ENforcement, S. 2029. The American Library Association’s Washington Office has put together a helpful guide to compare the three: PIPA, SOPA and OPEN Act Quick Reference Guide. ALA is strongly opposed to the first two and is still reviewing OPEN.
Here are the two most intriguing sites I came across today on this issue.
Book blogger, Alex Waugh of The Children’s War, writes about the experiences of her daughter in China: SOPA and PIPA – The Next Great Wall. I thought I knew what was going on with the internet in China and even I was shocked by what her daughter is unable to access. Do we want to be more like China or less in this area?
Scott Westerfeld, author of the popular Uglies and Leviathan series, posts fan art on his blog on Fridays. These are pictures made by his readers of the characters and situations in the books. I’ve been following that feature for months and they are sometimes brilliant, often charming, and always creative. His post today, Fan Art Friday (SOPA Edition) is about how SOPA and PIPA would be detrimental to fan art. The post is targeted to his young adult readers but it really helped me think about how creativity is nurtured in young people today, with more opportunity and excitement than was available to me in my teens and twenties. We could so easily legislate that progress away without fully understanding the consequences.
Rather than more bills designed to protect Disney’s corporate interests in a mouse, we need to rethink intellectual property from the bottom up. It’s a new intellectual age. Disney may need some protection. The next Walt Disney may need some protection at the point where he has to start making money from his art or give up the idea. But the next Walt Disney is going to come from the ranks of young adults who make mash ups on You Tube and deviantART, so we need to not blow out their creative impulses before they have a chance to shine.