TV2: A day without Wikipedia

Lauren Miller

KentWired Video

var so = new SWFObject(‘’,’mpl’,’665′,’450′,’9′);





The message may not be clear, but it’s certainly loud.

Imagine a world without free knowledge. Wikipedia, Google and Reddit have gone “dark” to protest two anti-piracy bills: Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect Intellectual Property Act.

Professor Tim Smith is a lawyer and has been practicing media law for 30 years. He says it’s all an issue of copyright infringement.

“There is an enormous amount of material that is copyrighted that no one cares about in particularly,” says Smith. “But once it gets loaded onto a place like Wikipedia or Facebook…all of a sudden the owner is concerned about what is going on.”

Currently, copyright holders have to follow the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The act states that copyright holders must “police” their work.

SOPA and PIPA may change that.

“This would put the burden on the website,” says Smith. “And they don’t want that hassle.”

Smith said that it would be virtually impossible to police a virtual world.

“It would radically change the nature of these websites,” says Smith. “[These websites] routinely take material belonging to someone else and post it.”

Along with Wikipedia’s shutdown, the site urges users to contact their local congressman. Kent’s Congressman is Rep. Timothy Ryan.

Rep. Timothy Ryan, tweeted “Web piracy is an issue that should be dealt with, but I oppose SOPA because it does too much harm to innovation and speech.”

But will shutting down Wikipedia for a day make a difference?

“I don’t think Congress is going to care a whole lot about it,” says Smith. “This is more of a boom to college professors who keep telling students ‘Don’t use Wikipedia’.”

Contact Lauren Miller at [email protected].