Today I woke up to two e-mails from Blizzard: one inviting me to the Diablo III beta and one inviting me to the WoW Mists of Pandaria beta.
Good timing, guys.
Apparently there is a major data dump on the upcoming Mists of Pandaria (MoP) expansion planned for tomorrow, where tomorrow seems to mean 0700 UTC on Monday, March 19th.
(Aside: Hey, today is my sister’s birthday! I should call her.)
I suppose this means I have to start paying attention to World of Warcraft news again. I admit it, I have been sadly lax in keeping up with … well, anything. This is a combination of real life (Project Gorgon, money issues, my first ever MRI, the incredibly sad state of politics in the US) and a period of WoW ennui. Sometimes you need a break. Especially after almost eight years.
To my immense shame, I haven’t had the time lately to follow up on the status of ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.
ACTA is in a multi-national agreement – a treaty, basically – about how to handle counterfeit goods, generic medicines and copyright infringement on the Internet. In that way, it is very similar to the US SOPA/PIPA bills … and it suffers from many of the same problems.
ACTA is currently being discussed by the European Union nations. The US already signed the agreement – last October.
I’m sorry I don’t have time to post more. But if you have the chance, please spend a little time today learning more about ACTA. One of the resources I found to get started is at: http://www.stopacta.info/
To show my opposition to the internet blacklist bills (like SOPA and PIPA) currently being debated in the US, Petopia, Warcraft Mounts, WoW Tabards, Dark Urban Fantasy, and Elder Game will be going dark for
twelve or so hours on most of January 18th, 2012.
(The exact hours will depend on when I get up. And while I haven’t decided exactly how to do it yet, I will be providing a cover page about why these sites aren’t available and where to find more information.)
I’m not trying to punish the people who use my sites, but I think it is vitally important to educate everyone about this topic. And not just people in the US - these bills can and will affect the internet worldwide.
They most certainly have the potential to affect Petopia and the rest of the independent World of Warcraft community.
Petopia, Warcraft Mounts, WoW Tabards, and Dark Urban Fantasy are not political sites. And yet at a very basic level, all of my sites embrace a very political ideal: the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds.
Here are two quotes from the Wikimedia Foundation that sum up my feelings about this action:
[...] although Wikipedia’s articles are neutral, its existence is not.
We depend on a legal infrastructure that makes it possible for us to operate. And we depend on a legal infrastructure that also allows other sites to host user-contributed material, both information and expression.
In the past week, we’ve seen the supporters behind the SOPA bill in tactical retreat. But the broader topic of an internet blacklist is not going away. To quote Wikimedia again:
All around the world, we’re seeing the development of legislation intended to fight online piracy, and regulate the Internet in other ways, that hurt online freedoms. Our concern extends beyond SOPA and PIPA: they are just part of the problem. We want the Internet to remain free and open, everywhere, for everyone.
So that’s why I’m doing this despite the fact that Petopia is not political. This isn’t about partisan politics. This isn’t about copyright infringement. This is about free as in free speech, not free as in free beer. This is about not screwing up the internet. And the internet is incredibly important to me.