Despite the White House effectively saying it would veto controversial new online anti-privacy laws, websites such as Wikipedia and WordPress have gone ahead with a 24 hour blackout to help highlight the threat these new laws would pose to their existence.
In the US, Congress and the Senate are currently debating the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), which are basically slightly different versions of the same legislation.
These new laws are causing so much controversy because, as written, authorities and copyright holders would be able to force broadband providers, hosting companies, payment services and search engines to cut off websites accused of enabling or facilitating copyright infringement.
Currently websites who remove pirated content once informed by the copyrights holders cannot be held liable for damages.
Wikipedia is the loudest voice in opposition to SOPA with its English-language website shutting down for 24 hours from midnight on 18 January (ET) but they have been joined by WordPress. And from 1pm GMT today Reddit, Mozilla.org, Mozilla.com as well as Google, which will be blacking out its logo, will join the protest.
While these actions will certainly highlight the problem with the bills in their current form, the White House’s indication yesterday that it will effectively veto SOPA and PIPA should they make it through the lower houses, means those drafting the bills will have to return to the drawing boards anyway.
A full list of sites taking part in the protest can be found at the SOPA Strike website and the most entertaining implementation of the blackout has to come from The Oatmeal which highlights just how ridiculous SOPA and PIPA are in their current form.
Source: SOPA Strike