Protest For Your Digital Rights

On Jan. 18, for 24 hours, Wikipedia shut down entirely. So did Reddit. Google blacked out its logo and a torrent of independent websites went down in protest.

This happened because the Internet, as a collective, intelligent body, felt mortally threatened: the Stop Online Piracy Act, a bill set to be voted on in U.S. Congress, was about to enact an Internet censorship system in the United States, with architecture similar to the ones seen censoring legitimate pathways of self-expression in China and Iran.

The U.S. government refused to listen to the experts, and the Internet was left with no other choice. The uproar American netizens produced was too loud to ignore, however, and Congress postponed the bill indefinitely. But this is a conflict that’s been going on for as long as the Internet’s been around, and it is far from over.

By the looks of it, the battle will be moving north of the border in the near future. Bill C-11, the Canadian government’s proposed copyright modernization act, might set the groundwork for Internet censorship and seriously limit digital rights for all.
For example, Bill C-11 would make it illegal to save a DVD on your personal computer, even for fair dealing purposes.

According to Michael Geist, a Canadian law professor from the University of Ottawa, the music industry is seeking to use the bill to introduce website-blocking and even Internet access-termination for alleged repeat infringers.
This won’t stand in Canada, and Canadians won’t stand for it.

So join me, fellow students and fellow Montrealers to fight against this bill in support of civil rights on Feb. 10, at Norman Bethune Square. Come at 2:00 pm—not to listen to our speeches, but to give your own. Not to take pictures, but to be in them. Be part of the solution, and tell everyone that’ll listen why this is a problem for you.

Defend your civil liberties. No one else will do it for you.

Editors Note: On Jan. 31, The Link inaccurately published a headline concerning an upcoming Internet censorship protest slated in Montreal for Feb. 10. We acknowledge that the headline erroneously compared Bill C-11 to SOPA, and want to express that the author of the article, Nadim Kobeissi, had nothing to do with this inference in the paper. A more accurate headline was updated online on Jan. 31, and The Link deeply regrets the error.

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