Occupy the Internet: SOPA Spurs Blackouts

Some of your favorite websites will be going dark Wednesday in protest of SOPA. Wikipedia, Reddit, Twitpic, Boing Boing and the I Can Haz Cheezburger network of blogs have all pledged to join the protest by temporarily blacking out their sites. Many other sites that aren’t going dark will still be showing support: Even Google is planning to put up a link about its anti-SOPA stance on its homepage tomorrow, Bloomberg reports.

As we described in an earlier piece,the Stop Online Piracy Act proposed in the US House of Representatives is meant to make it easier to prosecute piracy of intellectual property. But the proposed law would allow corporations to take down any site considered to be violating one of their copyrights. (A member of the House described its potential passage as “the end of the internet as we know it.”) A similar bill, the Protect IP Act (PIPA), isin the US Senate. Mashable has a great explanation here, and the Guardian made this explanatory video.

wikipedia sopa blackout

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales advised school kids to finish their homework before the Wiki blackout.

Wikipedia is taking down its English-language site for a full 24 hours, starting midnight tonight. The No. 6 most-visited site in the US is such a default resource for citizens of the internet that Time put together a list of ways to survive the Wikipedia blackout. (If you don’t feel like downloading the entire Wiki archive torrent, using an ad-riddled mirror site or resorting to Encyclopedia.com, I suggest quickly refreshing your high school French or Spanish skills.)

If you want to join the protest, try this Sopa Blackout JavaScript utility, also available as a WordPress plugin. WordPress also created a modal window plugin to add an anti-SOPA message to your site or blog. Google has advice for people who want to take part in the blackout but are worried about losing their search engine ranking.