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How Reddit Became the Internet's Vigilante Voltron

From Karen Klein to SOPA, the social news site Reddit can now muster tremendous financial, promotional, and political influence.

We all heard about it. On the afternoon of June 19, 68 year-old Karen Klien, a school district worker in upstate New York, was on board School Bus #784 as a monitor when four middle schoolers began taunting her. They called her fat, dumb, sweaty and ugly. They made fun of her family—her son committed suicide 10 years ago—and laughed as she cried.

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The OPEN Bill and the Future of Crowdsourced Legislation

KeepTheWebOpen functions like a combination of Wikipedia and any familiar commenting system: Click a sentence in the bill and add your changes.


With all the focus on today’s website blackouts to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act, it’s easy to forget that there are other ways to fight the bill. For members of Congress who oppose the bill, that means drafting competing legislation.

By the end of this week, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California) is expected to officially introduce his answer to SOPA. Issa’s bill is significant not only as a less restrictive way of protecting intellectual property on the internet, but also because it is being crafted with the help of the internet itself, creating one of the most visible crowdsourcing efforts ever seen on Capitol Hill.

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Why SOPA Could Kill the Open Education Resource Movement

If SOPA passes, global knowledge sharing could come to a grinding halt.


Thanks to the Open Education Resource movement, remixing and redistributing educational content has become standard. Efforts like the 10-year-old OpenCourseWare project at MIT, OER libraries stocked with free or low cost electronic books for college classes in Washington and California, and the rise of online learning have all contributed to the democratization of education. But all that global knowledge sharing could come to a grinding halt if the Stop Online Piracy Act goes forward.

In a "Concerned Educators Letter to Congress" a grassroots collective of OER and educational technology leaders write that SOPA would "chill the creation of educational content." Many OER platforms are nonprofit, operating with Creative Commons licenses and allowing global users to upload content on the honor system. The scope and size of OER platforms makes it difficult to monitor them in real time. Under SOPA, if any copyright-infringing material is discovered on an OER, the organization "could potentially have their domain name blocked by the goverment"—even if platform staff are unaware that it's been uploaded. And because OERs are by definition open to anyone, entire sites could become "unavailable due to the behavior of a tiny minority of confused or malicious users."

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