Tonight will be going dark for 12 hours in protest against SOPA/PIPA .

Why is a small social media agency protesting proposed U.S. legislation? Because it affects us all. As outlined by Jane Wells at,  SOPA and PIPA “would put publishing freedom severely at risk, and could shut down entire sites at the whim of media companies.”

Many of our favourite websites are hosted in the US – and they are now at risk. Some may even be forced to close should the legislation pass. SOPA will “establish a system for taking down websites that the Justice Department determines to be dedicated to copyright infringement” [source] and PIPA will “establish a system for taking down websites that the Justice Department determines to be ‘dedicated to infringing activities'” [source].

This could include websites that reuse content for the purposes of satire or commentary. It could force you to remove that video of you singing karaoke to George Michael’s Careless Whisper, or prevent the delicious daily explosion of  new image macros such as LOLcats. Can you imagine a world without LOLcats?

SOPA/PIPA also threatens to restrict or shut down websites which play a key role in distribution of news and commentary and those that have played an important role in supporting social movements such Wikileaks and the #Occupy movement.

We believe SOPA will also limit or prevent much of the creativeness and enthusiasm of social media users, and even put social media channels themselves at risk, should they not censor users as they will be required to do. There is risk that tomorrow’s YouTubes, Flickrs and Pinterests could not blossom under such stringent legislation. For more information, check out SOPA Breaks The Internet.

The simple question is: do you want your internet censored?

Websites “going dark” in protest against SOPA/PIPA

Going dark on 18 January (US time):

  • Wikipedia
  • Reddit
  • TwitPic
  • Several gaming companies, including, Riot Games, Epic Games, 38 Studios and Red 5 Studios
  • The Cheezburger network (including sites like The Daily What and Fail Blog)
Other activity:
  • Google will post a link on its home page to a document explaining its opposition to the bill.
  • will redirect traffic from the main and  English websites to an action page. It will also make the default Firefox start page black so that the tens of millions of Firefox users will see a black page with a call to action message rather than the traditional white page with the Firefox logo.

(Thanks to Google+ user Linda Lawrey for compiling this list)

Join in the Blackout

If you manage a WordPress (.com) blog, join us in voicing your concern. WordPress is making it easy for you by utilising one of two options: a “Stop Censorship” ribbon and a full blackout. The blackout portion will be in effect January 18 from 8am to 8pm (US EST), while the ribbon will be displayed until January 24. Here’s how to join in:

  1. Go to Settings → Protest SOPA/PIPA in your dashboard.
  2. Select if you want to join the blackout or show a ribbon.
  3. If you choose to join the blackout, you can edit the message that will be shown on your site during the blackout.
  4. Preview what your protest will look like.
  5. Click “Save Changes” button to activate your protest.


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