If you participate in Pine City Reads, the community-wide reading event, you might have read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury this winter. One of the main themes of the book is a lack of access to ideas and information. In Bradbury’s dystopian future, all books are banned. Some resist this, reading in secret and risking imprisonment or death for their crimes, but others are content to spend their lives glued to vapid yet immersive television programs or engaged in other types of media overload.
-Robin Duple, Pine City Branch Librarian
You may be wondering why if you go to Google today, you’ll see a black square, and a message about censoring the web. If you go to Wikipedia, you’ll find that the site is blacked out today, in protest over potential legislation that some say would limit access to the web and the information it holds. Many other sites and blogs are blacked out today in an organized online protest.
Libraries stand for protecting individuals’ First Amendment rights that support open access to information. The American Library Association (ALA) has put together a chart of the 3 copyright-related bills that are currently in play at the start of 2012: PIPA, SOPA, and OPEN Act.
ALA states the organization’s position on the bills:
. . . all of which take aim at any website beyond U.S. borders that distribute counterfeit or copyright infringing products. All three bills operate under the assumption that there is a problem that needs to be solved – and the best, or only, way to combat online infringement overseas is with more law targeted at foreign websites. These bills have the potential to negatively impact fundamental library principles. The following chart is for quick reference (not meant to be comprehensive), and outlines the primary issues and concerns of interest to the library community and those who use the Internet,
Link to the ALA comparative chart:
Barbara Misselt, Director