[Foundation-l] Politico: "Wikimedia foundation hires lobbyists on sopa, pipa"

Mike Godwin mnemonic at gmail.com
Sun Jan 22 23:04:25 UTC 2012

On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 2:46 PM, Theo10011 <de10011 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Mike, I completely understand your point on this and where you are coming
> from. But you made a conflicting point yourself....

<text omitted>

> But as I saw it, we already
> made our voice heard? When we blacked out Wikipedia for 24 hours, and saw
> some measurable impact in the standing within congress, not to mention the
> coverage and support in the media.

Another important lesson about arguing issues in Washington is that
the fight is never over. The content companies have been at war with
technology companies for decades over copyright issues. The fact that
we were heard one day (or even one week) in 2012 is no basis for

> might not be a worthwhile use of the money, considering all the millions
> floating around on lobbyists between for-profit corporations, this might be
> more than what we should take on at the time?

I believe Kat Walsh deserves credit for pointing out that, while we
strive for NPOV in our encyclopedic content, the very existence of an
encyclopedia -- and a freely available one at that -- signifies a
political position. (Encyclopedists and librarians have known this for
some time.)

> Lobbying generally  sounds of
> closed door dealings, and large amounts of money spent on convincing
> politicians, in this case, convincing them to do the right thing.

That's certainly a common stereotype. In practice, however, and under
American law, those meetings get reported and publicized, and
nonprofit organizations that meet with policymakers are held strictly
accountable for what they do. And, it must be stressed, they can't
spend "large amounts of money" on "convincing politicians." We have
laws about that here.

>When a
> non-profit engages in it publicly, one that prides itself on being small and
> independent, it affects my perception of it. It might just be me, but I
> would rather see public statements, and actions like the blackout over
> lobbying any day.

This is not an either/or choice. Small, independent voices can be
heard, if you know what you're doing.


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