Website blackouts protest SOPA


— 9:52 AM on January 18, 2012

As promised, quite a few websites are protesting the pending Stop Online Piracy Act legislation by staging a one-day blackout or strike, while others have simply tweaked their looks in order to draw attention to the issue. Google is showing a simple, black box covering its logo, while the English version of Wikipedia has blocked itself for the day.

Interestingly, lots of small content creators who have a strong interest in upholding intellectual property rights still oppose SOPA. One of the strongest contingents of opposition looks to be web comics creators, including everything from Questionable Content to xkcd and Sheldon.

I'll admit to not being entirely up to speed on the exact provisions of SOPA and their likely impact. I know the web isn't exactly a respectful place when it comes to intellectual property rights. Heck, our pictures have been stolen by sites now opposing SOPA, with no attempts to request permission or offer payment. Makes you go: hmmm. Also, anti-copyright-enforcement zealots have pretty much depleted their credibility over time with their constant hyperbole and shiny, greased slippery slopes on all sides. Still, nobody seems to like the takedown mechanisms in the proposed legislation, which might well give large entertainment companies too much power—something that always seems like a bad idea.

At any rate, you won't be able to look up strange animals or unfamiliar terms on Wikipedia today (at least, not without hitting Esc right as the page loads.) More than anything, I'm curious to see how much political influence the web can really exercise when it decides to flex like this.

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