Wikipedia and Reddit are turning off the lights to protest two bills that have been working in our legislative branches that would change the Internet forever as we know it. SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, and PIPA, the Protect Intellectual Property Act, are bills that have been crafted and sponsored by entertainment giants like the MPAA and RIAA without input from technology leaders or even the Congressional technology or telecommunication committees. While the goal of stopping piracy is admirable, breaking the Internet on the way and especially in the social, user-generated Web 2.0 world we connect to, piracy won’t be stopped and big sites will be able to bully smaller sites.
Fortunately, it seems the White House is on our side. Though this is a brick wall for the bill, it doesn’t mean everything is free and clear or that the bill is dead in the water.
To protest the bill and give a preview of what a censored Internet would be like, popular sites are going dark starting tomorrow. They will either be showing a message informing people why SOPA/PIPA are bad idea or redirecting traffic to a site like americancensorship.org. Some of the sites participating in the blackout include:
- Cheezburger network
- and many others as listed at SOPAStrike.com
Go Daddy has already felt the wrath of some of the protests. Though the results are debatable, the public image of Go Daddy was seriously tarnished and they have reversed their stance on the legislation.
While the web will shrink considerably tomorrow with some of the largest sites offline, it is for a good cause. Hopefully the message to congress will be loud and clear. In case they don’t get the message, you should consider contacting your representatives directly to tell them that a broken Internet is not acceptable.