Social Website Reddit Announces January 18 Blackout to Protest SOPA

by on January 11, 2012 · 1 comment

in Civil Rights, Popular

Reddit admins, fearful of the threat of SOPA, have planned a site blackout for January 18 in order to amplify the community’s voice.

By Jeff Hughes / Digital Trends / Jan. 10, 2012

The Internet has been rumbling and mobilizing in response to SOPA. One of the latest acts of protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act is a planned blackout by social website reddit on January 18.

Reddit admins announced the plan in a blog post on Tuesday (Jan. 10). The post acknowledged the activism by redditors in the fight against “powerful forces trying to censor the Internet.” However, the admins explained that it was time for the next stage of the fight, and they’ve decided they will be blacking out reddit on January 18. The blackout will last all day from 8am to 8pm Eastern Standard Time.

Instead of the normal reddit gumbo, visitors will be treated to a message about the impact of the PIPA/SOPA legislation on sites such as reddit. Along with the message will be links to resources for visitors to research the legislation. Reddit will also be showcasing a live video stream of “Internet entrepreneurs and technical experts” testifying at the House hearing. And for those of you looking for activist activities, like meetups or campaigns against PIPA/SOPA, reddit will be spotlighting these that day.

This is a preliminary sketch for what reddit plans on showing on the website, but the community is still welcome to suggest further ideas for what the site will do with its extra cycles on January 18. Reddit has been at the frontlines for activism against SOPA. Last month, members lead a boycott to move domains from GoDaddy, which resulted in the domain registrar reversing its position on the legislation. In the fight against SOPA, Wikipedia recently considered a blackout of its site for all English-language articles.

The threat of the SOPA legislation seems to be pushing some into tight, desperate corners, but the reddit admins say, “we’re not taking this action lightly. We wouldn’t do this if we didn’t believe this legislation and the forces behind it were a serious threat to reddit and the Internet as we know it.”


What Is SOPA Anyway? Mozilla asks users to join ‘Stop SOPA & PIPA’ campaign

By Andrew Couts / Digital Trends / Originally published Nov. 28, 2011

Following in the footsteps of Google, Facebook, Tumblr and other tech companies, Mozilla is taking steps to help block the passage of SOPA and PIPA, legislation that have the potential to fundamentally change the Internet.

The end of the Internet as we know it may be right around the corner — but not if the Mozilla Foundation has anything to say about it. The maker of Firefox, a non-profit organization, has launched a campaign to help block the passage of both the ‘Stop Online Piracy Act’ (SOPA) and the ‘Protect IP Act’ (PIPA), each of which may soon go up for a vote in Congress. Those who join the campaign are asked to call their senators and representatives and express their ardent opposition to these bills by this Tuesday.

What are SOPA and PIPA, anyway?

Both PIPA and SOPA aim to crack down on websites that illegally distribute copyrighted material, like movies, songs and TV shows, just as the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) tried to accomplish in the past. What makes them particularly controversial is that they also have the ability to establish a precedent of Internet censorship never before seen in the US, by allowing corporations (copyright holders) and the US government to require Internet service providers to block access to domains they feel infringe on intellectual property rights, to block payments (through direct donations or ad sales) made to suspected sites, or to sue sites (like Google, for instance) that they think don’t do enough to block access to copyright-protected content. This chilling factor is especially true for SOPA, which critics say could establish the “Great Firewall of America,” a reference to the strict censorship placed on online activity in China.

Supporters and critics

Because of the great power SOPA and PIPA give to copyright holders, these bill have strong support from the entertainment industry, including the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America, among other major content creators. In the opposite corner are a wide number of technology giants, including Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, AOL, LinkedIn and even Microsoft — a long-time proponent of stricter copyright protections.

Other possible consequences of SOPA and PIPA

In the addition to the risk that an incalculable number of innocent websites could find themselves blocked behind an iron curtain — something that could happen simply because a company like Universal or Sony believes a site may be contributing to copyright infringement — critics argue that SOPA and PIPA would fail to stop online piracy because people could still access infringing site by simply typing in their IP address, rather than the domain name. Cybersecurity experts say these bills, if enacted, threaten the very structure of the Internet because the Domain Name System (DNS), which translates domains like “” into their corresponding IP addresses, would be tampered with to such an extent that the entire World Wide Web could face a slew of detrimental security risks.


In short: SOPA and PIPA would likely do little to achieve their explicit goals of curbing online piracy. They would give corporations and the US government broad powers to censor the Internet, while at the same time making the entire Web less secure.

SOPA is likely to go up for a vote in the US House of Representatives soon, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to call PIPA up for a vote as soon as next week.

If you believe these pieces of legislation would be detrimental to the Internet we all know and love, join Mozilla’s campaign to block passage of these bills here.

Also for the links, go to the original article here.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

jen powers January 11, 2012 at 2:09 pm

will zuckerberg and page have the guts to join reddit in solidarity against SOPA with site black outs on 1.18.12?


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