Maybe you’ve noticed that some key sites on the internet have black, empty homepages today. If you haven’t read about the reasons why, here’s a short overview:
There’s a bill going through Congress right now called SOPA, or Stop Online Privacy Act. This video tells you how it aims to do that, and why internet users and website creators are wary of it.
Many people have been speaking out against the bill, to try to fight what they see as backing from the entertainment industry to push this into law. (Here’s a list of companies who support the bill, collected by the International Business Times).
The Electronic Frontier Foundation provides us with a helpful summary of actions so far from December, and notes that there will be a hearing on January 18th (tomorrow) to hear testimony from tech experts.
To raise awareness of protests against SOPA, Wikipedia, Reddit, and other blogs and sites will be going black to show what they think the internet will be like if SOPA is passed. You can customize your own site to go black in solidarity with them by using the code found here. However, Twitter will not be joining them. Although it is against SOPA, the CEO, Dick Costolo, thinks the blackout is a “foolish” initiative.
According to this article on the Political Animal blog for Washington Monthly, SOPA is now facing opposition from the White House and key backers have agreed to drop part of their provisions. This could come, in part, because of the vocal protests that have already happened. Is it still necessary to disrupt the information seeking of users around the world tomorrow?
Want to read more about the issues surrounding the policing of piracy? Check out the transcript of Cory Doctorow’s speech on The Coming War on General Computation, or watch the speech yourself on YouTube. Or to go much, much deeper, check out these books from the library:
-Tessa, CLP-East Liberty