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Costa Rica's Online Community Joins Fight Against SOPA and Censorship

Following the virtual strike against the the United States’ Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the subsequent shutdown of Megaupload, a file-sharing website, Costa Rica's online community is no longer staying out of the fight against Internet censorship.

On January 17, Costa Rican blogger community TicoBlogger [es] announced its support for the fight [es] led by Wikipedia (which “turned off” its English page for 24 hours).  TicoBlogger published the following statement [es]:

Porque somos una comunidad unida de personas que piensan diferente, pero creemos firmemente en el derecho que tiene cada uno de nuestros miembros de expresarse libremente es que desde el día de hoy y mañana, representativamente nos uniremos a Wikipedia, para hacer una lucha simbólica en contra de SOPA  y PIPA.

Los visitantes de cualquier blog de ticoblogger, se encontrarán mensajes en contra de la Censura de Internet, y el contenido parcialmente bloqueado en la primera visita.”

Logo against SOPA. Taken from Ticoblogger.com

Logo against SOPA. Taken from Ticoblogger.com

Because we are a united community of people who think differently, but we firmly believe in the right that each one of our members has of freely expressing him or herself, and starting from this day forward, we are joining Wikipedia to form a symbolic fight against SOPA and PIPA.

Visitors to any blog on ticoblogger will find messages against Internet Censorship and partially blocked content on the homepage.

Various blogs pertaining to the TicoBlogger network joined the protest, re-posting the statement, censoring parts of their posts or contributing their own reasons to fight against SOPA, like El Alumbrado Público [es], whose author asserts:

Como bloguero, no puedo estar a favor de una ley que busca privar a la población mundial de información, entretenimiento, y sobre todo de cultura y conocimiento.

As a blogger, I cannot be in favor of a law that looks to deprive the world of information, entertainment, and above all, of culture and knowledge.

On his own behalf, Julio Córdoba, author of Ciencia Ficción affirms [es]:

Internet ha crecido por hombres y mujeres que libremente comparten sus ideas. La recreación, conocimiento y amistad nacional e internacional es uno de los grandes frutos de la herramienta. Son los menos quienes violentan derechos ajenos y soluciones equivocadas solo atentan contra el espíritu mismo de la red. Hoy, como miembro de ticoblogger, este blog se une a la protesta contra SOPA.

The Internet has grown because of men and women that freely share their ideas. National and international recreation, knowledge and friendship are some of the greatest results of this tool. Those who force alien rights and flawed solutions only undermine the very spirit of the web. Today, as a member of ticoblogger, this blog is joining the protest against SOPA.

Another of the collective's blogs, Conejitos Suicidas [es], shared an excerpt that derechoaleer.org [es] elaborated upon, which explains how SOPA can affect users even outside of the United States. With respect to this, they cite [es]:the following:

si bien la ley sólo regirá en territorio estadounidence, al concentrar ese país la mayor parte de la infraestructura de la red, casi todos los servicios y sitios que utilizamos diariamente se verán afectados: Youtube, Wikipedia, Google o Twitter, como ejemplos.

Por otro lado, Estados Unidos aloja servicios básicos de la red, como el control sobre los dominios genéricos (.com, .net, .org) que aunque pertenezcan a sitios fuera de su territorio, a partir de su aplicación podrán ser inhabilitados desde Estados Unidos, sin considerar el sistema judicial del país afectado, según la campaña “anti SOPA” publicada por el sitio.

If the law will truly only govern on U.S. territory, upon concentrating the majority of this country's web infrastructure, almost all of the services and sites that we use daily will be affected: Youtube, Wikipedia, Google, or Twitter, to name a few.

On the other hand, the United States houses basic web services, such as control over generic domains (.com, .net, .org) that, while belonging to websites outside its territory, after its application can be disabled from the United States, without considering the judicial system of the affected country, according to the “anti SOPA” campaign published on the website.

The news of the FBI's shutdown of Megaupload and Anonymous’ counterattack against the U.S. government (closing the FBI website, among others) also generated commotion on social networks in Costa Rica.

As such, Twitter users were swift to react.  Heidy Murillo (@Sancarleña77) [es] wrote:

El FBI tiene el olfato político del un oso de peluche, cerrar #Megaupload después de #StopSopa fue una provocación gacha. #OpMegaupload #SDP.

The FBI has the political instinct of a teddy bear, to close #Megaupload after #StopSopa was a terrible provocation. #OpMegaupload #SDP.

In response to this outlook, the author of El Alambrado Público expressed the opinion [es] that:

Una gran parte de la Internet, tal cual la conocemos hoy, ha desaparecido. Miles de blogs y foros quedaron inservibles. A comenzar de cero, ¿nada más eso queda? ¿Entenderían mi punto si pasara lo mismo con Taringa?

El contenido de entretenimiento es una mínima parte del gran error que cometió el Departamento de Justicia Estadounidense. No se trata de velar por el bienestar económico de Hollywood o Universal Music; se trata de garantizar y facilitar el acceso al conocimiento, a la cultura y a la información a la población mundial. Decenas de tutoriales libres, documentales de libre distribución, fotografías, documentos culturas e históricos han desaparecido”.

A huge part of the Internet, as we know it today, has disappeared. Thousands of blogs and forums were left unusable. We have to start from zero, what else is left? Would you understand my point if the same thing happened to Taringa?

Entertainment content is a small part of the huge mistake that the U.S. Department of Justice has committed. It's not about watching over the economic well being of Hollywood or Universal Music; it's about guaranteeing and facilitating access to knowledge, culture, and information to the world. Dozens of free tutorials, freely distributed documentaries, photos, cultural and historical documents have disappeared.

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