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January 18, 2012

The US Congress is currently considering an anti-piracy bill (known as SOPA in the House and PIPA in the Senate) that would dramatically alter the way US citizens access information over the Internet.  Many web sites today are engaging in “black outs” to illustrate their concern.  News reports claim that over 25,000 WordPress blogs are engaged in black outs, and a stunning 4.5 million people have reportedly signed a Google petition opposing SOPA-PIPA

BLT, like many blogs, is censored in China, Iran, Syria, and several other countries.  Besides being an offense to free expression, this censorship directly hampers us from discussing issues of translation with native speakersof Chinese, Farsi, and Arabic in those countries.  I deplore this censorship and I am proud that the United States and European Union have adopted a policy of actively encouraging Internet Freedom and free expression.

However, the passage of SOPA-PIPA in their current forms would impose restrictions on the Internet that would in some ways parallel what is done today in China, Iran, Syria, and other countries that restrict free speech.  According to media reports, many in Congress view SOPA-PIPA as “a relatively obscure piece of legislation.”  It should not be.

BLT was not blacked out today.  But I would nonetheless like to encourage our US readers to inform themselves about SOPA-PIPA and to express their opinions to their representatives; and for our non-American readers to express their opinions to the US State Department.  The bill is currently scheduled for a test vote on January 24th, so time is of the essence.  You can find out more information here, or by googling SOPA or PIPA

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