Wikipedia founder slams SOPA/PIPA: ‘Not the right bill’

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, January 18, 2012 20:00 EDT
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Wikipedia, the world's largest user-created encyclopedia, plans to go offline in protest of a bill before Congress.
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Jimmy Wales, founder of the user-generated encyclopedia Wikipedia, said on CNN last night that he commends efforts to stop online piracy, but cautioned that the measures in the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) simply go too far.

“I’m a big believer that we should be dealing with the issues of piracy and we should deal with them in a serious way, but this bill is not the right bill,” he told CNN’s Erin Burnett.

Wikipedia, along with hundreds of other websites including The Raw Story, went dark on Wednesday to protest the bills, illustrating for users what would happen if the U.S. Congress decides to fundamentally alter the architecture of the Internet.

Challenged to speak out about media sharing website The Pirate Bay, Wales commented that the site “is a problem,” but warned that “censorship on the Internet” is not the way to deal with it.

Instead of forcing Google to de-list the site, or force Wikipedia authors to stop talking about it, “the right answer is follow the money,” he said. “If you’ve got large scale piracy going on, it’s the same as any other trade dispute.”

Wales also responded to criticism leveled by News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch, who claimed recently that President Barack Obama had thrown in with the Internet’s “pay masters” in the fight over online piracy.

“It’s such a ludicrous statement I don’t even know where to begin. Certainly for Wikipedia, we’re not anybody’s pay masters. We’re a charity devoted to sharing free knowledge. We’re a community that has come together to build an encyclopedia and give it away for free to everyone. We have absolutely no positive interest in encouraging piracy and we have no way of profiting from piracy. It’s just completely ludicrous.”

This video was broadcast by CNN on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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