Two new laws proposed by US legislators, the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act, have been attracting a very negative reaction from the web community over the past couple of months, which is today culminating in a day of protests. Aiming to curtail copyright infringement on the web by giving the US government unprecedented new powers, both SOPA and PIPA have been rejected as overreaching and unhelpful laws that cannot coexist with a free and open internet.
The most outspoken protester of the bills today will be Wikipedia, whose English site will be going dark for the full 24 hours on January 18th, starting at midnight ET. It's also joined by Reddit, which will replace its usual "glorious, user-curated chaos" with a message noting its opposition to SOPA and PIPA, accompanied by links to more information about the bills and suggested ways to express your own dissatisfaction with them. Reddit will not be offering its regular service between the hours of 8AM ET and 8PM ET, which is also when Mozilla will be redirecting the Mozilla.org and Mozilla.com English webpages to a similar "action page" inviting users of its software to voice their concern. The Firefox landing page will also be altered to raise awareness. Finally, Google's search homepage is partaking in the protest by blacking out the Google logo, voicing the company's opposition to SOPA, and including a link for more information.
For the full list of websites taking action against SOPA and PIPA today, check out the SOPA Strike website. It includes such luminaries as the EFF, xda-developers, Minecraft.net, TwitPic, and even the Internet Archive. And, if you just can't live without Wikipedia for a full day, we might as well tell you that the mobile version of the site will remain active today, as first uncovered by the guys over at The Wall Street Journal.
Student warning!Do your homework early.Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday! #sopa— Jimmy Wales (@jimmy_wales) January 16, 2012
Craigslist is participating in today's proceedings by confronting visitors to its US sites with a "Stop PIPA and SOPA" splash page, which can be skipped to access the full site. The best SOPA protest page so far, however, comes from The Oatmeal, which features a poignant animated GIF that breaks the issue down in a humorous and relatable manner.