Not every English-speaker hopping over to Wikipedia for a quick look-up today will have heard about the 24-hour blackout or what's prompted it, which is partly what makes the action so effective. As Wikipedia Executive Director Sue Gardner explains, this "blackout is a protest against proposed legislation in the United States — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the US House of Representatives, and the PROTECTIP Act (PIPA) in the US Senate — that, if passed, would seriously damage the free and open Internet, including Wikipedia." As to why the protest has to be taken global and has to go forward now, even as the White House threatens a veto and "some American legislators appear to be in tactical retreat," she adds: "The reality is that we don't think SOPA is going away, and PIPA is still quite active. Moreover, SOPA and PIPA are just indicators of a much broader problem. All around the world, we're seeing the development of legislation intended to fight online piracy, and regulate the Internet in other ways, that hurt online freedoms. Our concern extends beyond SOPA and PIPA: they are just part of the problem. We want the Internet to remain free and open, everywhere, for everyone."
Boing Boing co-editor Cory Doctorow explains why one of the most popular blogs anywhere is joining Wikipedia, Reddit and other sites in the blackout: "Boing Boing could never co-exist with a SOPA world: we could not ever link to another website unless we were sure that no links to anything that infringes copyright appeared on that site. So in order to link to a URL on LiveJournal or WordPress or Twitter or Blogspot, we'd have to first confirm that no one had ever made an infringing link, anywhere on that site. Making one link would require checking millions (even tens of millions) of pages, just to be sure that we weren't in some way impinging on the ability of five Hollywood studios, four multinational record labels, and six global publishers to maximize their profits."
Trevor Timm of the Electronic Frontier Foundation presents a sharp and succinct primer on the threats SOPA and PIPA pose to free speech and innovation, and if you're itching to take action yourself, e-flux has a guide to the steps you might take.
In other news. Touchstones in Zoe Beloff's essay "Bodies Against Time" are her own installation The Infernal Dream of Mutt and Jeff, Walter Benjamin, Etienne-Jules Marey, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, Chaplin and Keaton. And the New Yorker's Sasha Frere-Jones interviews the editors of Triple Canopy.
In the works. Cormac McCarthy has written and already sold his first screenplay, reports Deadline's Mike Fleming.
For Only God Forgives, a project that "centers on a Thai police lieutenant whose rivalry with a gangster sees the two settling their differences in a Thai boxing match," according to the Playlist's Kevin Jagernauth, Nicolas Winding Refn is re-teaming not only with Ryan Gosling but also with Cliff Martinez, who scored Drive. Earlier: Danny Kasman's interview with Martinez.