Wikipedia Blackout: 11 Huge Sites Protest SOPA, PIPA On January 18
On January 18, over 7,000 websites -- including Wikipedia and Google -- will protest anti-piracy legislation currently making its way through Congress. Sites in opposition to the measures will either "going dark" or post information to educate visitors about bills H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), two pieces of legislation meant to curb copyright infringement.
While many may support the bills' intentions, opponents and civil libertarians are worried that their passage would give the government powerful censorship tools that could threaten free speech.
When a site "goes dark," or participates in a "blackout," the site will in some way restrict its usual content. For example, the English-language version of Wikipedia, which will be dark from midnight January 18 until midnight January 19, will feature information about SOPA and PIPA and encourage visitors to contact their representatives, in place of its usual encyclopedia entries. Similarly, visitors to Imagur's photo gallery will find information about the legislation and "a message about how the PIPA/SOPA legislation threatens sites like Imgur" as well as "methods to take action," according to the company's blog.
At a speech in Boston last autumn, Eric Schmidt, Google's former CEO and now executive chairman, called SOPA "draconian," CNN reports. Google announced on Tuesday that it would be posting on its homepage a link to information about the proposed legislation, according to The New York Times.
In November, a bevy of large Internet companies, including Facebook, Google, Zynga, Twitter and LinkedIn, published an open letter in the New York Times that said, in part, the companies were "concerned that these measures pose a serious risk to our industry's continued track record of innovation and job-creation, as well as to our Nation's cybersecurity." AOL, which owns the Huffington Post, also signed the letter.
There are several ways you can get involved in the SOPA/PIPA protests. SopaStrike.com offers instructions on how to black out your own site. You can also let your voice be heard by clicking one of the links below.
Click through the slideshow to see how some of the sites protesting SOPA and PIPA will be participating.
Wikipedia is planning <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/16/wikipedia-blackout-jimmy-wales-sopa_n_1208947.html" target="_hplink">a 24-hour blackout</a> beginning at midnight EST on January 18 and lasting for 24 hours.
Reddit, the social sharing site that <a href="http://blog.reddit.com/2012/01/stopped-they-must-be-on-this-all.html" target="_hplink">first proposed the SOPA strike</a>, will blackout for 12 hours on January 18, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST. <a href="http://blog.reddit.com/2012/01/stopped-they-must-be-on-this-all.html" target="_hplink">From the Reddit blog</a>: <blockquote>Instead of the normal glorious, user-curated chaos of reddit, we will be displaying a simple message about how the PIPA/SOPA legislation would shut down sites like reddit, link to resources to learn more, and suggest ways to take action.</blockquote>
Google announced on Wednesday that it will also protest SOPA and PIPA. <a href="http://news.cnet.com/8301-31001_3-57360223-261/google-will-protest-sopa-using-popular-home-page/?part=rss&subj=latest-news&tag=title" target="_hplink">According to CNET</a>, Google will have a link on its US homepage showing its opposition to SOPA and PIPA.
Various news outlets report that photo sharing site twitpic will join the protest against SOPA and PIPA, but it's unclear what the site will do on January 18.
WordPress.org, the popular blogging platform, will go dark on Wednesday to protest SOPA and PIPA. <a href="http://wordpress.org/news/2012/01/help-stop-sopa-pipa/" target="_hplink">In a post</a> on the WordPress blog, Jane Wells, the UX lead for WordPress, wrote that "if this bill is passed it will jeopardize internet freedom and shift the power of the independent web into the hands of corporations. We must stop it."
<a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-57360174-501465/wikipedia-moveon-reddit-mozilla-shuts-down-to-protest-sopa-pipa-how-to-prepare/" target="_hplink">According to CBS</a>, Mozilla will participate in the blackout on January 18. Mozilla has dedicated entire pages to both <a href="http://www.mozilla.org/sopa/" target="_hplink">SOPA</a> and <a href="https://donate.mozilla.org/page/s/commit-to-call-pipa" target="_hplink">PIPA</a>.
MoveOn.org, the progressive PAC, will go dark on January 18 to protest SOPA. "Congress is playing fast and loose with Internet censorship legislation that would have people like Justin Bieber thrown in jail for uploading a video to YouTube," said Justin Ruben, the executive director of MoveOn.org, <a href="http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2012/01/more-web-sites-plan-blackouts-in-protest-against-sopa-pipa/1" target="_hplink">according to USA Today</a>.
Center For Democracy And Technology
The Center for Democracy and Technology, <a href="http://www.cdt.org/about" target="_hplink">a non-profit</a> that's "working to keep the internet open," <a href="http://www.cdt.org/blogs/161open-internet-fights-back" target="_hplink">will go dark on Wednesday</a> "[i]n an effort to pressure the Senate to postpone its premature action -- and to protest the slanted process by which PIPA and SOPA have advanced through Congress."
Imgur, the free image-hosting site, will blackout its galleries for 12 hours on January 18. Instead of the gallery, users will see "a message about how the PIPA/SOPA legislation threatens sites like Imgur with methods to take action," <a href="http://imgur.com/blog/2012/01/16/imgur-joins-blackout/" target="_hplink">the company said</a> on its blog. According to Imgur, users with paid accounts will not be affected.
Minecraft.net, along with www.mojang.com and www.playcobalt.com, will "close down" on January 18, according to a post on the Mojang website. "No sane person can be for SOPA," Markus "Notch" Persson, <a href="http://www.pcgamer.com/2012/01/12/notch-no-sane-person-can-be-for-sopa/" target="_hplink">the creator of Minecraft, said on Mojang.com</a>. "I don't know if we're sane, but we are strongly, uncompromisingly against SOPA, and any similar laws. Sacrificing freedom of speech for the benefit of corporate profit is abominable and disgusting."
<a href="http://www.minyanville.com/businessmarkets/articles/sopa-protect-ip-senate-hearings-ip/1/17/2012/id/38865" target="_hplink">According to Minyanville</a>, the Cheezburger Network of sites will go dark on January 18 to protest SOPA. Cheezburger network sites include The Daily What, Fail Blog and Know Your Meme.