19 January 2012

The Wikipedia Blackout

As I noted in yesterday's post, New Zonal Clippings for C19 on my World Championship Blog, the one day Wikipedia blackout forced me to put off some minor web research. After flashing the target page for a split second, the following screen appeared.

The text reads,

Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge • For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia. Learn more.

The 'Learn more' link went to SOPA and PIPA - Learn more. There's no question that Wikipedia is a positive force in the world, but it's not lily white either. A post on the The Chess Museum -- A SAD REVELATION -- caught my attention when it appeared last year.

I was looking up something about Jackson Whipps Showalter and Pillsbury (H N) to confirm a thought I had about winning the US championship and then defending the title. Well, Wikipedia had the information because it was copied directly from Hooper & Whyld's book (I was double checking)! Directly. No paraphrasing, no parsing, no mention (except under references [and that doesn't given them a license to "lift"]). This is wrong.

Yes, it is wrong, and I've seen other examples of the same thing. Anonymous contributors hand-in-hand with self-policing makes a bad marriage. Wikipedia should get its own act in order before it starts complaining about forthcoming legislation designed to protect the original content creators. They deserve more respect and a better deal than Wikipedia is giving them.

1 comment:

Chris said...

The content creators are already substantially protected (some might say over protected) by the DCMA, which forces a hosting site to remove any content immediately upon an *allegation* of copyright infringement.

The new legislation will allow the entire site's finances to be shut down for a single *allegation* of copyright infringement. Yes, a balance has to be struck, but the proposed legislation is no balance at all.