The Great SOPA Blackout: Wikipedia, Reddit, and More

Read our latest updates at the bottom of the post.

Today is no ordinary January 18th.  In fact today may be a reflection of what this day in January would be a year from now if the SOPA and PIPA bills are passed.  Major internet hubs and havens of information such as Wikipedia, Reddit, Wired, Google, and a long list of other websites have blacked out their content in response to this nightmarish fate.  While the Christmas season may have just passed – its pretty obvious that house and senate members are going to be haunted by angered internet spirits à la A Christmas Carol.

English Wikipedia Blackout Splash Page

We just sent out a newsletter and explained in great detail in our past article about how the SOPA bill could not only affect rising YouTube entertainers but any content providers on the internet…including YOU.  Whether you host a website or not, SOPA threatens every American’s personal freedoms and could damage the web on an even wider scale.  It may not be pretty seeing the above splash page on Wikipedia, the censored Wired headlines, or the tweets filling the #SOPABlackout hashtag with this unicode character (▇) – these are the measures that may in fact catch Congress’ attention.

The word “may” perhaps is not even strong enough to describe the kind of impact being felt throughout Hollywood and D.C.  After a mainly mum response, the Obama administration released an official response to a petition that gathered over 50,000 signatures.

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. – Official White House Response

Remember, the more nefarious members of the music or film industry have tried enforcing such measures to censor content and halt progress for years.  If we all just accepted such attempts to clamp down, the amazing system of digital distribution now employed by the same industries would never exist.  Piracy and progress are two very different things.  If SOPA and PIPA succeed — both of these entities will become canon fodder.  The difference is the pirates will sail elsewhere and the innovators will be left treading water.

For a full list of sites striking against SOPA you can go here

Readers speak up.  What are you doing to show your protest against SOPA?

UPDATE January 18, 2012 10:50 AM:

Senator Marco Rubio withdrew his support for the Protect IP Act and announced his new stance in this Facebook post.

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