Contrary to the suggestion I heard a radio host prissily make this morning Contrary to the prissy tweet I heard my very favourite Morning Edition host read on-air this morning* that Wikipedia shutting down for a day isn’t a big deal because we still have libraries: well, actually, yes it IS a big deal. It’s HUGE that a lot of websites are going dark today to protest evil U.S. copyright legislation that would, among other things, make it easier for idiots and bastards to censor Internet content they have no business censoring.

And confidential to CBC radio’s expert who said something like**, “you can’t use clips of other television programs to make your own program!”, what? Seriously, what?!? In fact, that technique can be totally legitimate, you idiot. You can absolutely author a unique creative work from the pieces of other work. In video it’s a mash-up. In music it’s called sampling. In old-fashioned painting and drawing and photography, it’s a collage. Duuuh.

This is exactly why people who understand how technology and the Internet and creativity and freedom of speech and expression are freaking out over the U.S.’ malignant Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). They won’t work and they’ll cause a ton of harm to the free flow of creativity and information.

As PD designer Awesome Klassen says, “this legislation could ruin it not only for the Americans, but for everyone else.” So good on Wikipedia for taking a dramatic stand.

Want to educate yourself on the details? The tech-saavy blog BoingBoing lays the situation out in detail.

*I was very sleepy and frozen so there’s a chance that I misheard/misunderstood Sheila Coles, and she wasn’t actually scoffing at Wikipedia’s relevance–but if she did, that’s horrifyingly out of touch. And by prissy, well yeah. It did seem kind of Church Ladyesque. UPDATE: Sheila Coles says in the comments: “Uh just to set the record straight, the “prissy” comment you heard was me reading a tweet from a listener. You know, as opposed to ME saying it. Bit of a difference, yes? But thanks for listening!” I am very glad that Sheila Coles is not horrifyingly out of touch. I am sad that I am sometimes dumb.

**Again, assuming I heard this correctly in my alertness-compromised state. Didn’t catch the guy’s name. UPDATE: The CBC radio link here. And I did hear this correctly. The exact stupid fucking quote is: “You don’t have the right, for instance, to take footage from a TV show, mash [it] together, create your own show. That’s not really creativity. I mean it may be in that it takes creative skill to do that. But that’s not you creating something. That’s you taking something that someone else has created, and using it for your own purposes.”