Fun in the Wasteland
Reddit, Wikipedia First to Fall Before SOPA
by Damon Darlin
New York Times Technology Editor
Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013
The Stop Online
Privacy Piracy Act came into effect last week, and already major copyright holders have swung at popular online communities that host links to torrent websites such as The Pirate Bay. Under the bill, websites suspected to contain information for accessing copyright infringing sites may be ordered to shut down. There are no penalties for false accusation.
Critics of SOPA, which passed by a heavy margin during the 113th Congress’ first session, cite these attacks as the legislation’s primary problem. Wikipedia is expected to remove all content that allows users to circumvent current anti-piracy measures, and come back online by August. But for other sites, simply removing offending content is not an option.
“Reddit is based on user-submitted links and content,” says Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of the popular sharing site, “and removing all submissions related to piracy is simply an intractab;e problem. It would destroy the site and the community.” Supporters of the site say the act amounts to “censorship,” and that it “gives free reign to corporations to intimidate anyone they choose.”
A Sony spokesperson offers a different perspective on the attacks. “We’re talking about stopping criminals here. If a website allows links and information on circumventing the law, that is a criminal act and it must be stopped,” he retorts, offering that, “If you see someone reading a book on how to make bombs, you call the police. It’s the same thing.” Responding to the fact that even if a website is 99.999% free of illegal links, the whole site is taken down, he says, “Only offending subdomains will be taken down.” He fails, however, to mention that a subdomain for a website such as reddit.com consists of all material found under the URL format www.reddit.com/x/y.
Halloween Bombing Linked to Anti-Government Manifesto
by Lindsey Orwood
New York Times Staff Writer
Friday, November 1, 2013
Sony’s San Diego headquarters collapsed in an explosion last night, leading many to believe the act was in response to the media/electronics company’s draconian use of the SOPA legislation. The building was evacuated on an anonymous tip regarding the bomb threat, but early reports say the explosion injured at least 7 bystanders.
The FBI was quick to arrive at the scene, taking over the investigation. Police report that a copy of the Communist Manifesto, as well as a printed manuscript suspected to be linked to the culprits.
The manuscript, entitled “The Red Hand Manifesto,” has been made available online by various websites to whom it was anonymously sent. A monster of a read at over 500 pages, the work mimics reactionary idealistic ramblings of past killers. Its themes include endorsements of both communism and anarchy, rejection of both Christianity and secularism (describing some New Age mystical hybrid as the “true spiritual path”), and many other curious ideas mixed with standard liberal fare, giving it the air of a scarecrow argument that a conservative would prop up.