Major Websites Blackout in Protest of SOPA and PIPA

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SOPA…it’s a term that will be infamous amongst internet users forever. SOPA, otherwise known as the Stop Online Piracy Act, is a new government bill that some are trying desperately to get passed by Congress, to the great disdain of internet users around the world. On the surface the bill might sound like a good thing, trying to stop piracy and illegal activity on the internet. But dig deeper and you will find that SOPA is just another extreme form of internet censorship.

There is a whole lot to the bill itself, but in a nutshell, the bill would allow the government to shut down and deny access to any website that is deemed to have illegal material on it. This, naturally, has made a lot of website creators, developers and owners very upset, especially sites like Reddit and Wikipedia.

This bill has a lot of potential for bad. For example, Reddit finds it impossible to monitor every single thing users post on the site, which makes posting things of an illegal nature simple since there is no one to monitor it. If SOPA is enacted, and that illegal material was discovered, then the government could essentially shut down Reddit completely and deny access to everybody, even if the site and its operators had absolutely nothing to do with the material posted.

As a result of SOPA, as well as PIPA (Protect IP Act), a lot of major websites have staged an internet protest in the form of a blackout. Major websites, like Reddit, Google and WordPress have participated in the event. Google blacked out its logo and added the message “Tell Congress: Please don’t censor the Web!” The message was also linked to an online petition opposing SOPA in the U.S. House of Representatives and PIPA in the Senate.

The blackout is scheduled to last from 8:00 a.m. this morning until 8:00 p.m. (for most sites) this evening with additional sites expected to register. Ben Huh, CEO of Cheezburger, which operates multiple humor websites, stated in a recent Tweet that his company’s sites would blackout as well.

Wikipedia posted on its site saying, “Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge”, and also wrote on its English site that the SOPA legislation is something “that could fatally damage the free and open internet.” The site also added that it would be blacking out for 24 hours in order to raise awareness.

It seems as if three officials from the Obama administration issued a statement opposing both SOPA and PIPA . The officials stated that online piracy by foreign websites was a very serious problem in America that requires a serious legislative response but that SOPA and PIPA aren’t it. The three officials also stated that they would not support legislation that “diminishes freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk or undermines the dynamic, innovative global internet.”

It will be a dark day for internet users should these laws get passed. However, if there is one thing I have learned from blogging, it’s that internet users are many, they are powerful and you do NOT want to screw with their internet…

Source: PC World – Wikipedia, Craigslist, Other Sites Black out Against SOPA at Midnight

$3,000 Birthday Cake for LeBron James Gets Rejected

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LeBron James birthday cakeWhen a person becomes famous, for whatever reason, often they are usually showered with lots of free stuff. Whether it be clothes, technology, gift bags or, in some absurd cases, cars, celebrities (the ones with more money than all of us) are for some reason just given things. Take LeBron James for instance. The former Cleveland Cavaliers star and current Miami Heat player was offered a free birthday cake for his 27th that was estimated to be worth $3,000. The best part is, though, that the “King” rejected the cake, opting for something else instead.

However, the fact that the cake wasn’t used was very disappointing, and upsetting to the person who baked the 5-level extravaganza, local Miami baker Alethea Hickman. Hickman wasn’t offered any money for the giant cake but was instead promised a ton of free publicity for designing and baking the cake that was to be presented to James on his 27th birthday at a local Miami nightspot. Hickman was promised a “sponsorship”, no physical money, according to Jared Galbut, the man who handled James’ party.

However, things didn’t go so well when the cake wasn’t used. According to Hickman, “I don’t even know where my cake went. I was mortified. They had me do it in the middle of the holiday crush and I hired additional people. Someone needs to pay.”

Galbut stated that James’ people decided that the cake wasn’t fit for the Miami star. “It just wasn’t what was expected. When LeBron’s people saw it, they just didn’t want to use it and decided to bring their own cake. I can’t tell LeBron James what birthday cake to eat. It’s LeBron James, for Christ’s sake.” Galbut was also asked how much he would be willing to pay for the cake if asked. “That cake couldn’t be more than $600. It’s flour, eggs and water.”

It’s actually a little more than just flour, eggs and water. Also included in the value of the cake are the workers it took (the extra ones hired on for the job), their wages, delivery costs, lost revenue from other potential clients and also all the decorative ingredients and other ingredients aside from eggs, flour and water.

Regardless, it probably wasn’t the best idea for Hickman to offer the cake free of charge and in exchange for free publicity. The amount of revenue generated by the publicity probably wouldn’t equal the amount of resources that went in to making the cake in the first place. It hasn’t even been determined if LeBron himself saw the cake. Who knows, he may have loved it!

The lesson here? Don’t give away free things if they would normally cost you a lot of money and there is NEVER a need for a $3,000 cake, ever.

Source: Yahoo! – LeBron James rejects his $3,000 birthday cake, as the baker gets angry

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