Sites Go Dark Tomorrow to Protest SOPA
Article by George Norman
On 17 Jan 2012
House Bill 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA for short), poses a real threat to the freedom of the internet. The bill was introduced as a means of expanding the ability of US law enforcement and copyright holders to fight copyright infringement. But the simple truth of the matter is that it could have a negative impact on the freedom and safety on the internet, and a negative impact on the economy. Check out the video down at the bottom to get a better idea of what I am talking about.

Opposition against SOPA from the general public and big-name companies has been so great that the bill has been delayed. The vote has been canceled and the bill will not move forward in the House until “outstanding concerns” are addressed. But that did not put a stop to the protests, and rightly so. The bill is not dead yet and the protests will not stop until it is.

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Tomorrow, the 18th of January 2012, many sites around the web will go dark in protest of SOPA. Or to put it in other words, to protest against SOPA, many sites will take part in a scheduled blackout on Wednesday, the 18th of January 2011. Mozilla, reddit, and Wikipedia are among the sites that will go dark as a sign of protest.

Wikipedia will blackout its English portion of the site for 24 hours on the 18th of January; the shutdown will begin at midnight Eastern time. “If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open Internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States,” said the Wikimedia Foundation on Monday.

It was belied that popular micro-blogging and social networking Twitter will also take part in the scheduled blackout, but Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo said that “closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish.” This means that Twitter will not participate in the blackout.

If you have a site and you want to protest against SOPA by taking part in the scheduled blackout, visit the sopastrike.com website to find out how you can participate. And if you have a blog and you want to protest, you can use this Stop SOPA WordPress plugin that blacks out your site and displays a message that says you’re against SOPA.

And now, the video I mentioned above, video that explains why SOPA is bad.



Check out this webpage on the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) site to find out how SOPA violatesWhite House Principles that support free speech and innovation. And speaking about the White House, representatives of the Obama administration have come out to speak against SOPA.

“While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet,” said a statement signed by Victoria Espinel, the White House intellectual property enforcement coordinator, Aneesh Chopra, U.S. chief technology officer, and Howard Schmidt, special assistant to the president and cybersecurity coordinator for the National Security Staff.




Tags: Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, SOPA, Twitter, reddit, EFF
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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