The technology world has been buzzing with talks of protests over the past month over SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), a law that is being discussed in the U.S. Another law called Protect IP Act (PIPA) has also many tech giants worried. Internet companies fear that SOPA and PIPA will also kill free speech and innovation which is central for these internet companies along with the internet in general.
If you visit Wikipedia tomorrow, there is a good chance that this screen will greet users.
Blackout Protest against SOPA…
A couple of weeks ago, Reddit announced it was going to protest SOPA by blocking its own content for a single day on 18th January 2011. The idea is to show users what the internet could be like if SOPA and PIPA went through to become a law.
Today, Wikipedia has decided to follow Reddit and will blackout their website to show protest against the bill. There are many websites which will be going black to protest but the Wikipedia is the most popular one today. Here is a list of all the websites that have confirmed a blackout.
Jimmy Wales the founder of Wikipedia, announced the participation of Wikipedia in English to have a blackout in a tweet.
Online activism has got a lot of people involved in protesting SOPA. GoDaddy was one of the rare tech companies to support SOPA initially. It led to user backlash with thousands of website owners moving to another service. The episode turned out to be a complete PR disaster for GoDaddy.
The argument is age old: Should a website be held responsible for user-generated content? For example should blogger.com or WordPress.com which host millions of blogs be responsible for someone publishing content to which they do not have copyright over? We have seen the lack of understanding of such processes.
Look up this infographic to understand how SOPA will work!
We will have to wait and watch throughout the day to see if more prominent websites like Facebook, Google and others could join Wikipedia in a blackout tomorrow.
Do drop in your comments.
Link: Wikipedia Press Release