Hey, did you know that Wikipedia, Google, Craigslist and Reddit are trying to turn you into their corporate pawns? We didn’t either, but to hear MPAA honcho Chris Dodd tell it, the “gimmick”y blackout darkening the Internet today isn’t actually a way for tech sites to spread awareness about a critical issue to a possibly uninformed segment of the population – instead, it’s just a “stunt,” an “abuse of power” designed to punish users and elected officials alike. In related news, two of SOPA’s and one of PIPA's co-sponsors have asked to have their names removed from the bill.
Even though SOPA’s odds of worming through into law are looking increasingly slim, it’s still a threat, as is PIPA, its sister bill in the Senate – and websites are lining up to combat it. After Reddit announced it would be blacking out on January 18 to protest the bill, a host of other organizations followed suit, culminating in Wikipedia’s announcement yesterday that it, too, would shut down tomorrow. Today, Google said it would lend its voice to the cause – but not with a full-fledged blackout. One of its employees also outlined how websites can blackout in a search-friendly way.
The news coming out of Washington this weekend has been very, very encouraging for all the SOPA haters in the House; sponsor Lamar Smith said he was stripping the DNS blacklisting requirements from the bill, the White House issued a statement announcing it basically wouldn’t support a lot of the SOPA provisions, and there are even rumors of SOPA’s death floating around. That isn’t stopping Wikipedia from blacking out on January 18th to protest SOPA and its Senate-based sister act, PIPA. Reddit, Destructoid, and a host of other sites will also be shutting their virtual doors that day.
Big media isn’t used to losing a fight, but then again this is the Internet we are talking about here. The much despised SOPA censorship bill introduced by Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith seems to have completely stalled, which according to The Hill is due to a lack of consensus. If you are one of the countless thousands who called your local officials to lodge complaints, sent old fashioned mail, or even just complained in online forums give yourself a pat on the back, somebody heard you.
Texas Representative Lamar Smith was recently interviewed by Reuters about his authorship of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and the Congressman vociferously defended the legislation. Smith even went so far as to call into question the motives of opponents. It could be said that Smith calling into question the credibility of SOPA opponents is more than a little ironic.
The Internet is going to be a cold, dark place on January 18th. After the Reddit team announced a few days back that the site would be down on that date as a protest to the proposed SOPA legislation, a couple of other organizations have decided to throw their lot in with Reddit and stage blackouts of their own. Namely, Minecraft, Destructoid, the iCanHazCheezburger family of sites, and Anonymous, the hacker group everybody loves to hate. Dozens of smaller sites such as Red 5 Studios and Errata Security will be shutting down as well. Even Wikipedia is considering a blackout.
By now you should be at least partially familiar with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), a pair of bills that would give big media companies even more power on the Internet than they already have (and if this is the first you're hearing of this, read this, check out our SOPA and PIPA coverage, and Google both terms before retreating under your rock). Naturally, the Internet community is pretty pissed, organizing boycotts of companies who support the proposed regulation, and urging less vocal supporters to publicly denounce the Acts.
Comcast announced today that it has finished the rollout of Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) across its network. While patting itself on the back, Comcast’s blog post went on to essentially admit that a major element of the enforcement plan in SOPA and PIPA is incompatible with DNSSEC. Comcast is the owner of NBC-Universal, and a vocal supporter of SOPA.
The public outcry over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) is not about to die down. Popular discussion board and social news site Reddit has just announced that it will be blacking out on January 18th from 8AM-8PM EST in protest of the likely passage of the legislation. In place of the user-generated madness that is Reddit, the site will host a simple message about how SOPA and PIPA would negatively affect sites like Reddit.
Up in arms about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)? Well, you’re not even close to alone, and a new Android app can help the more passive opponents do their part to express their rage. The Boycott SOPA app allows users to leverage their phone’s camera to make sure they aren’t buying any products that come from companies supporting SOPA.