UPDATED: The Internet v. SOPA/Protect IP – Who’s Blacked Out & Why

Today, many of the most popular websites that a lot of us use on a daily basis have gone black to show their opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act/Protect IP Act. While we hear that SOPA has been shelved until February, PIPA is still to be voted on come the 24th of January.

Sites like Wikipedia (English version), BoingBoing, Reddit, and (gasp) The Cheezeburger Network will all take their sites down today in protest against SOPA/PIPA. Sites like Google, Facebook, and Twitter will still be online but strongly oppose these bills.

Want to see who else is participating in the Internet Blackout? Mashable’s got the list here.

To find out more information about what’s happening and what you can do to help, read below from an earlier post.

Up until a few days ago, the only sopa that I was aware of was the tasty rice dish that my Me-Maw used to make with frijoles and tortillas. Now, SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act, is causing a big hullabaloo all over the internet. Logging onto many sites today may have called your attention to this. Take a look at what Tumblr was doing to everyone’s feeds today:

Tumblr was basically censoring EVERYTHING in their feeds to call attention to what many see as a the first wave of internet censorship. The aim of these initiatives is basically to extent copyright protections to the internet.

Here’s what PROTECT IP will do if made into law:

  • Seize domains of sites involved in the distribution of illegally obtained copyrighted material.
  • Compel ISPs to block access to seized domains (such as from cached servers).
  • Compel credit card companies to block access to infringing sites.
  • Prevent advertising companies from selling or carrying ads for infringing sites.
  • Require search engines like Bing and Google to block access to infringing sites.

SOPA’s objectives, many of which overlap PROTECT IP’s, are simply stated in this House synopsis:

H.R. 3261 allows the Attorney General to seek injunctions against foreign websites that steal and sell American innovations and products. The bill increases criminal penalties for individuals who traffic in counterfeit medicine and military goods, which put innocent civilians and American soldiers at risk. And it improves coordination between IP enforcement agencies in the U.S.

Source: BetaNews

Why this is a problem:

The problem protestors have with both of these bills are that all of these wheels will be set in motion by private corporations–movie studios and recording companies being at the top of that list–and there would be no requirement for proving anything in a court of law before the site is taken down. A copyright holder need only accuse a website of infringement, and the search engine, advertisement, and payment system would be cut off in five days. The DNS filtering would still need the involvement of the Department of Justice to get a court order, but again, there would be no need to prove anything to obtain such an order from a judge. – ITWorld

Check out those articles for a more in depth look at the initiatives.



Not in the United States? AmericanCensorship.org

What do you think?