Wikimedia Taiwan urges IPO to drop websites blocking plan

06/01/2013 11:02 PM

Taipei, June 1 (CNA) Wikimedia Taiwan, a non-profit social group, voiced strong opposition Saturday to Taiwan's plan to block some overseas Internet services that seriously infringe on copyright.

The group said in a statement that the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs should abandon such a plan so as to uphold basic human rights and protect local people's free reign online.

If the IPO insists on going ahead with its plan, Wikimedia Taiwan said, it would not rule out the possibility of collaborating with other local civilian groups in staging various protest activities and even informing the U.S.-based Wikimedia Foundation of the IPO's plan.

Wikimedia Taiwan said it would invite Wikimedia chapters around the world to voice concerns about the IPO's plan.

The plan is similar to the United States' Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in seeking to block international websites that are notorious for file-sharing and other activities that flagrantly violate digital content rights.

But Wikimedia Taiwan said the SOPA authorizes U.S. courts to decide which website should be blocked, whereas the IPO's plan, if implemented, would allow the IPO to host an inter-agency meeting to make such a judgment.

Wikimedia Taiwan said the Wikimedia Foundation shut down its English-language Wikimedia website for one day to protest against the SOPA when it was first brought up in the U.S. Congress in 2011.

Wikimedia Taiwan is recognized by the Wikimedia Foundation as its local chapter in Taiwan.

For its part, the IPO has stressed that the plan will only target online activities that flagrantly violate digital content rights.

It has rejected suggestions that its plan to block overseas Internet services is similar to China's online censorship.

Due to cost considerations, only a few local ISPs -- Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Broadband Communications and Far Eastone Telecommunications Co. -- will be asked to block access to certain IP addresses and domain names, the IPO said earlier this week.

(By Zoe Cheng and Sofia Wu)enditem/cs

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