On January 18, 2012, a lot of sites are going dark (more or less) to protest a pair of bills1 that are trying real hard to become a law in the United States that will give the US government unparalleled power over the content that appears on the internet. In a show of solidarity, I should be taking this site down in the same way. Unfortunately, I’m a bit busy and haven’t had a chance to set that up or get whatever plugin I need to do it, etc.
This does not mean that I am not sympathetic to the cause. I am. So, tomorrow, if you are inconvenienced in the process of doing whatever it is that you are doing, please have a little patience and respect for whatever website it is. They are trying to make a point, and your frustration is part of that point. If SOPA / PIPA passes and becomes the law of the land, sites could go down by Federal mandate, diddled at the DNS level.
How long do you think WikiLeaks would last before they were taken down due to "piracy" charges, for example? What about Wikipedia? WoWPedia? Ars Technica? BoingBoing? Slashdot? All of them have, at some point, probably published something that could, without hearing or possibility of rebuttal, have them blacklisted in the DNS tables that are used in the US.
And if you feel that a temporary inconvenience is worthwhile to ensure content providers get paid, might I mention that the US government does not thus far have a stellar record of clearing people from its own "No-Fly list". Pretty much, once you get on it, you’re toast. I don’t trust these people to floss their own teeth, much less admit to a mistake and clear things up. This is the US government! Justice is not relevant!
Here are some links that may be helpful and/or educational.
- Stop American Censorship hooks you up with your congresscritter so that you may express your displeasure at the concept of SOPA/PIPA. You get a canned message to send, or you may craft your own. Maintain level tones!
- The EFF, as you would expect, provides you with the information you crave.
- Hey, WikiMedia has a few words to say, such as "this totally impacts our ability to do our thing." Love Wikipedia or loathe it, one thing is certain: it represents something that most people consider a good thing. Imagine if it were gone. Oh, wait – tomorrow2, you won’t have to imagine.
Okay, it probably took longer to write this than to find and install the plugin to blackout my own site, but I never have been one of few words when many words would suffice. But now I’m really tired, and suffering from a head cold virus that we have dubbed "Murglesnout", because, brothers and sisters, that is exactly how it feels.