Above: Clay Shirky explains why SOPA and PIPA are really bad ideas.
The upcoming opening of the Utah Legislature recalls the flurry of activity that attended the closing of the last session. It was a great day for democracy and for the traditional media, as The Salt Lake Tribune and other newspapers and broadcast outlets got out the news about House Bill 477, the ill-conceived stealth effort to gut the state’s exemplary open records law.
The exhaustive reporting and barrage of editorials put the matter squarely before the people of Utah, and brought us some professional recognition from around the nation. But it was the people of Utah — calling, emailing and literally taking to the streets — that convinced lawmakers to repeal the misbegotten bill before the month was out.
Last week, there was a similar flurry of democracy in action, with a similar outcome. But the mainstream media had precious little to do with it, other than stand back and watch in envious amazement.
This was an online uprising, independent not only of traditional media, but of the traditional tools of influence that involve campaign contributions and back-room lobbying.
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