Today saw the fight against the draconian Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) go mainstream, with some of the world's biggest websites, including Wikipedia and Google, joining an ever growing protest movement. The SOPA act, which goes before US congress on January 24th, aims to control - with a guilty until proven innocent approach- web content which it deems to be in breach of copyright. The consequences of such an act would be felt not only in America, but globally. Media owners could be left restricted to the point that even a link to another website deemed to be infringing on copyright could be removed from the Internet with immediate effect. Essentially, SOPA will kill the very essence of what makes the Web such a wonderful. Below is our compilation of the most effective SOPA Blackout which appeared on websites on January 18th.
With an estimated 28 million views per month, Wired
is one the most used technology websites on the Internet. Their homepage creatively blacked out all but a few words, which were revealed when you hovered over each section, to provide an idea as to what a news website may look like in future if editors are restricted with the content they feel they can distribute.
serves 150 million visits each month, with an estimated 2 billion pageviews. Arguably, Reddit would be most affected out of all the companies featured in this list, due to the nature of the content which it serves. All material is submitted by its users, rather than editors, meaning content which would be in breach of the proposed SOPA act ends up on the site very often.
The Cheezburger network, which includes sites such as failblog.org
, is a collection of humour blogs read by millions each day. Similar to reddit, the network relies on content provided by its users.
Boing BoingBoing Boing
today served its users with a 503 unavailable error message; a message which won't be to dissimilar that will be found on any sites which fall foul of SOPA should the act be passed.
is huge. It powers this very website. In fact, it powers millions of websites. Wordpress' website was blacked out and called on visitors to sign a petition and send a message direct to their congress person - urging them to vote "No" on the bill.
, the company behind the popular Internet browser Firefox, created an informative SOPA Blackout homepage. They gave clear and concise reasons why they are firmly against the SOPA act, and why you should be to.
The first page a large proportion of Internet users will land on, Google
today made the simple but effective change of blacking out their logo. For anyone who doesn't frequent technology related sites, which until today had largely been the only ones fighting against SOPA, this is likely to have been the first they will have known about SOPA.
Seen in newspapers and on news bulletins around the world this morning, Wikipedia
made the biggest impact today. They closed access (although not for the tech savvy users, who quickly found a workaround to view the site) to all of the English language entries on their encylopedia. Wikipedia is updated by the public, and a SOPA act would destroy the very foundations upon which it was built. But perhaps no site delivered the message more effectively than The Oatmeal
, with their potentially NSFW gif
. Long live the Internet.