SOPA Blackout Set For January 18th: Here’s All The Info

Major sites participating, is it the right move?

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SOPA Blackout Set For January 18th: Here’s All The Info
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Over the weekend, the Stop Online Piracy Act was dealt a major blow as the legislation was delayed until “outstanding concerns” have been addressed. SOPA will not move forward in the House as the official vote was been cancelled and the bill has been yanked from the floor. Representative and SOPA opponent Darrell Issa cheered this as a win for the internet community – but he warned that SOPA’s Senate cousin PIPA is still a major concern.

He’s right, and SOPA is still a concern as well. While it has been delayed, SOPA is not dead (just ask SOPA author Lamar Smith). It is entirely possible that SOPA could resurrect once a “consensus is reached.” SOPA must be destroyed while vulnerable.

And presumably, that’s why many sites will still participate in a scheduled blackout on Wednesday, January 18th to protest the legislation.

Update: 12:00 AM January 18 – View Live Protests:
Boing Boing

Do you support sites like Wikipedia going dark in protest of SOPA and PIPA? Or do you feel that it’s the wrong move? Let us know in the comments.

Here are some of the bigger sites that will officially go dark on the 18th:

  • reddit
  • Wikipedia
  • Mozilla
  • Failblog, rest of the Cheezburger Network
  • Boing Boing
  • WordPress
  • MoveOn.org
  • TwitPic
  • Minecraft.net
  • Riot Games
  • Epic Games
  • 38 Studios
  • Red 5 Studios
  • Google will be changing their homepage
  • Imgur
  • Tor Project
  • Miro
  • iSchool at Syracuse University
  • Oreilly.com
  • Good Old Games
  • Free Press
  • Mojang
  • XDA Developers
  • Destructoid
  • Good.is

Smaller sites can get in on the protest as well. A site, sopastrike.com, has been set up by the Fight for the Future non-profit. It allows anyone with a website to join the strike. The site’s list of all registered blackout participants contains hundreds of small websites.

If you want to participate in the blackout, you can use the Simple Stop SOPA WordPress plugin. It will blackout your site and show the following message in white:

This site has been blocked in protest of the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) two bills which will allow the government to censor the internet. Find out more at americancensorship.org or the video below. This website will return at 8pm.

It will also show this video about SOPA and PIPA. If you haven’t already seen it, it’s a nice video that explains the dangers of the legislation:

If you want a little more control on your blackout, you can try this other WordPress plugin.

Googler Pierre Far made a timely Google+ post Monday evening, coyly referencing the fact that sometimes webmasters feel the need to take their site offline for a day because of “server maintenance or as political protest.” He mentions this action as the most important one to take if you plan on having your site go dark for a day:

1. The most important point: Webmasters should return a 503 HTTP header for all the URLs participating in the blackout (parts of a site or the whole site). This helps in two ways:

a. It tells us it’s not the “real” content on the site and won’t be indexed.

b. Because of (a), even if we see the same content (e.g. the “site offline” message) on all the URLs, it won’t cause duplicate content issues.

2. Googlebot’s crawling rate will drop when it sees a spike in 503 headers. This is unavoidable but as long as the blackout is only a transient event, it shouldn’t cause any long-term problems and the crawl rate will recover fairly quickly to the pre-blackout rate. How fast depends on the site and it should be on the order of a few days.

You can see the entire list of tips here.

If you don’t own a site and want to spread the word of the blackout via social media, you can use the hashtag #sopastrike or #stopsopa all day. BlackoutSopa.org also allows for you to change your Twitter pic to one of three images – either a smaller “Stop SOPA” banner under your pic, a total “STOP SOPA” image or a simple blackout.

There is still a day until the SOPA blackout, which means the window is closing for other big-name sites to join in. Having Reddit and Wikipedia down is going to be a huge deal, and it would only get bigger if other social sites joined the blackout party.

But it appears that not everybody is joining the party. In response to Radar correspondent Alex Howard asking him if he had the “cojones” to join Jimmy Wales and Wikipedia in the blackout, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo had this to say:

@digiphile @jayrosen_nyu that’s just silly. Closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish. 17 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto

He elaborated:

@digiphile Not shutting down a service doesn’t equal not taking the proper stance on an issue. We’ve been very clear about our stance 17 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto

Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales agrees that Twitter should not go dark in protest –

@dickc Can you confirm your support for Wikipedia’s protest? I agree with you that twitter should not go dark. 14 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto

He makes a distinction – that Twitter needs to be used to organize the protests. It’s a no-brainer that shutting down giant social media sites like Twitter and Facebook would severely hamper the ability to communicate about the protest. But if the purpose of the blackout is awareness, to send out a warning message, then nothing would be as jolting as seeing a site like Twitter go dark for an entire day.

Not all SOPA opponents feel that a blackout it a good way to tackle the unpopular legislation. As PandoDaily’s Paul Carr writes,

Arguing that a one-day closure reminds everyone of the importance of net freedom is like burning down one church to underscore the importance of the First Amendment for all of the others. Even if the shut-down did send an effective message, it’s still not Wikipedia’s call to make. If you ask the entire world for money to stay live, then you owe the entire world the courtesy of staying live, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

He also stresses that Wikipedia should stay neutral on policy issues, as they are dedicated to staying impartial in every other facet of the site. Jimmy Wales has responded to this concern as well:

@andrewsmatt Articles must remain neutral. The community need not, not when the future of the Internet is at stake. 13 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto

So the English version of Wikipedia will be inaccessible for the purposes of article retrieval from 5am GMT to 5pm GMT on Wednesday. All visitors will see an open letter asking that they contact their representatives about SOPA/PIPA. Wales told the Telegraph:

“The general sentiment seemed to be that US law, as it impacts the internet, can affect everyone.”

Do you think that Wikipedia has a duty to stay neutral on the SOPA/PIPA issue? Or do they have a duty to take a stance because the legislation threatens the internet as a whole? Let us know in the comments.

Although SOPA was dealt a crushing blow this weekend, do you think that the demonstration is necessary to show people the real cost of internet censorship, so maybe legislation like SOPA won’t get this far in the future? Or do you think that blacking out a popular site for an entire day is too much, or even counterproductive? Do you think that it will work in swaying any SOPA supporters? Let us know in the comments.

SOPA Blackout Set For January 18th: Here’s All The Info
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  • Marilena Noy

    I do support Wikipedia. It is an invasion of privacy if PIPA and SOPA go into law.

  • John


  • http://site-13260684597118389096708619638487.webs.com/ Mimi Neko

    This is rediculous. That`s all I can say about it. They`re trying to take away our freedom of speech.

  • bobbi

    I do not think that shutting down websites as a protest of SOPA & PIPA is a very good idea. I work from home as a medical transcriptionist & use the internet a lot to search for the spelling of medications & other medical terminology.

  • Dennis A Loushe

    Government control over free expression is the dream of statists. They must be stopped or liberty will eventually be replaced with Orwellian distopia.

  • Jay Raney

    I wouldn’t mind if the entire U.S. went dark for 6 hrs. Mr. Costolo needs to quit being a dick and look at the bigger picture. The erosion of personal freedom needs to stop. Our politicians should stick to something they know and stay away from something whose dynamics realign themselves at the nanosecond /picosecond level.

  • http://vizfact.com/ VizFact

    Hard to disagree with either of them. They are right on the money. But having FB go down would be awesome. It would show FB’s support, thus making it more lovable.

  • http://www.last.fm/user/mcg1985/journal Nathan P

    If my sites were up, I’d make them go dark tomorrow in support. As is, I’ll be posting about this on Facebook tomorrow!

    Canada would likely follow any US lead here (they tried following DMCA but protests killed the attempt) so I’ll help my fellow net users protest!

  • yuri


    • http://www.robZtv.com robZ

      You’re mistaken–it’s not happening slowly.

  • yuri

    fight for our rights!

  • Sylvia

    Yes this strike is necessary! Good for internet giants like Google & Wikipedia for participating. It’s important to not only petition Congress but show we are willing to act on protecting one of our most valuable media tools. (BTW, don’t bother posting comments following mine. Not interested in arguing with anonymous personages online, only in reading people’s opinions in response to this article). Thnx!

  • TryCommonSense

    I think it’s a great idea. It is outrageous that Congress is even considering giving private companies the authority to unilaterally censor the Internet. Hopefully this blackout will spur enough people to put enough pressure on them not to.

  • Steven

    Id love to see it happen. Ultimately it’s up to those that own the sites laid forth in this blackout, but they have my support. Go you.

  • gloria miller

    I agree with shut down , more should follow .

  • RMStates

    I’m not one to normally post to threads of this nature, but few things frighten me more than people trying to silence free speech. While I agree that something needs to be done about piracy – SOPA is overbroad and clearly infringes upon the right of free speech. I could go in depth as to how it potentially blocks and may even cripple free speech through ambiguous wording, but I won’t. Read the bill and ask yourself these few questions: “What is minimum in this context?” “What is technically feasible?” and other ambiguous terms like expeditiously and reasonably. These are terms that can vary greatly depending upon who is interpreting them. We all know that legal wording is designed for the purpose of ambiguity. However, when the ambiguity results in restraints to free speech, it cannot be allowed.

    As pastor Martin Niemöller eloquently stated in his “first they came …” speech, and by which I will adapt and paraphrase to this cause: if we sit idly by and allow the government to create laws which infringe upon the rights of some, and do nothing as it does not pertain to us, or it benefits only us, we allow the government to establish precedent which will make it easier to infringe upon the rights of larger groups, eventually limiting or eliminating our ability to post things such as this.

    We need to stand in unison to protect our rights by protecting the rights of everyone.

    Voltaire stated “I do not agree with what you say, but I would defend unto death your right to say it.”

    Yes, something needs to be done about piracy. No, SOPA is not the answer. It is overbroad (read up on it – don’t take my word for it), and would serve only as a catalyst for other limiting bills/laws.

    Stepping down from my soap box now …

  • Kathy Schnell

    I support this protest fully.

  • Reenie Starr

    I agree with taking blackout actions to protest SOPA and any other legislation that may arise like it.

  • Anthony

    SOPA has to be stopped. If it passes, most of internet will be shutdown and no more freedom of speech.

  • LaffingKat

    I support Wikipedia and the other sites blacking out. It’s important to raise public awareness about this issue. I also think we should boycott companies that support this legislation and vote out any politician who votes for these bills! I’d rather give my money to independent artists and writers than the MPAA, RIAA, and big publishing houses.

  • M. Tomec

    An actual blackout is exactly what will happen if this bill passes. Since for most people, “seeing is believing”, I think this move is a good one.

  • TheMadMan

    The USA Government has finally figured out how to control, censor and “Big Brother” the internet and our protests will not stop them.
    They (USA Gov) will simply start another massive propaganda drive to get it done and no-one in their right minds believe them any more.
    Remember the “Weapons of Mass Deception” and “I did not have sex with that woman” statements? – nothing will change, including my miss-trust.
    Maybe we should start calling it the “neutered net” as it will effectively have had its balls cut out.

  • tct

    I can’t even begin to say how wrong sopa or any bill like this is. Are we being assimilated by the Borg? Resistance is futile we will be assimilated

  • Vickie Cardellini

    Oh yes I support the protest! There are always going to be congressional reps that support corporation over human citizens.

  • http://reedfamilyjourney.blogspot.com Christy

    I am not sure how much influence the blackout will; have over all but agree with the general consensus that it will at least raise awareness. It’s the eve of the blackout and the first I am ever hearing of SOPA!! I am a SAHM of 4, okldest is only 5 so if it does not involve spit up, diapers, Elmo or Superhero’s I am always out of the loop!

  • Alda Woodward

    I think all that is being done is perfect we need to protect the internet from censorship. Thank you for doing this !!!

  • karla

    I agree on the blackout protest… if we need to loose the ability to communicate VIA certain websites for the greater good so be it… we can’t let SOPA take away our freedom

  • http://None Tyson

    I support the blackout but I hope it doesn’t affect some of the sites I rely on day to day for information and to pay bills online and also facebook, whatifsports.com, gmail.com, socialinfo.com, and btjunkie.org. Other than those web sites I support it in full because we deserve the right to free speech and access to any web site we would like to go to and download any information that we want as long as we don’t exploit the information that we download.

  • http://None Tyson

    I have already contacted my congressman and the house of reps concerning this issue and protesting the censoring of websites, so let it rip!!

  • http://taketheglance.com/airsoft Scott Rathbun

    I am opposed to what our elected officials are trying to do by passing these ridiculous bills to line their pockets with more money . I have just begun my Internet site ,I am new but learning quickly and having fun at it. I do not want see a black out ,but if that i what its going to take to kill these bills lets do it.

  • http://www.smokintime.com John

    I was aware of these 2 bills but not this upcoming blackout so I don’t have enough resources to join or I would. In any event if american people want to really go after the supporters of these two bills then as a whole we should sue the people who support it as well as the industries that are backing it and our congress people. We already have laws on the books for copywrite and infringement….so why should our tax dollars be spent haggling over bills that just duplicate existing laws? I say f?ck Washington and lets take back our country, get them idiots off of capitol hill and get america back to where it should be!!!!!!!! A country of prosper and inovation.

    • spammer exterminator

      You could still do a blackout it may not be as effective but it would still send a message. Truthfully I think there should be a major wave sent out and every single web site that is against those laws be a part of it, everyone should take a weeks vacation and basically shutting down the entire internet for 1 week as a threat to those in support that this is how the internet will be if they pass those laws.

      • spammer exterminator

        When I say everyone I mean; ISP’s, Users, Websites, etc. everyone. It would be difficult even I (just being a user and not having a website or online business) would find it difficult I would especially miss facebook. But if a internet user like me would miss it think how much the supporters will miss the loss of business. That’s what it’s all about they are worried they are loosing to much money on piracy but they left it full of loop holes possibly on purpose so it may not stop at just the piracy sites. I would gladly miss a weeks worth of internet for a life time of internet freedom.

  • spammer exterminator

    I am 100% for the Blackout. But that little message
    “This site has been blocked in protest of the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) two bills which will allow the government to censor the internet. Find out more at americancensorship.org or the video below. This website will return at 8pm.”
    In kinda silly they will be like so I’ve seen websites down for days just for general maintenance. It should read more like; Hello if SOPA or PIPA Pass this his how your internet experience will look – You have reached a site that the government has deemed unsuitable for you o view. You will now be redirected to a more suitable website. And it actually redirects you to a different web page that imagery that looks like its for kids(I dunno maybe something Flowers and Bunnies hopping around) that also says this is possibly how your internet experience shall be if you allow the SOPA and/or PIPA to pass. With the Protest Now Link Here. They could make it easy by creating a single page for everyone to redirect and everyone who is against those laws should join the blackout. Because Seriously it could actually come to that with those laws. I mean if they are successful in filtering out a few Pirate websites whats to stop them from going after other sites, say like sites containing adult content then whats to stop them from going after sites like youtube where will they draw the line? Will it stop at just the internet? Maybe it wasn’t an oversite, maybe the SOPA and PIPA are deliberately phrased in such a way to make it happen. Think about it.

  • http://www.DesiSauda.com Seshu

    We at DesiSauda (www.DesiSauda.com) feel that this act as it stands will not support startups like ours – what if a vendor provides us with a picture and we run a deal with that picture. What if that picture was a copyrighted picture, who is at fault – DesiSauda for not having done its due diligence and running the deal, the vendor who claimed that it was his/her artwork. Would DesiSauda has resources to check and authenticate every single piece of artwork/comment before posting online.

  • Nera

    I’m glad someone is taking action and that they will be making people more aware of this all…

  • Ukee The Monkey

    I sure would love to see Youtube go down for a day for this. I know Google has been fighting against SOPA and I think most people don’t realize the Youtube is going to be one of the first sites to be blocked from this bill, they would after that.

  • http://keeme.com Keeme

    I’m all in…or all out ;)

  • http://www.bookreviewsbyangy.com Angy

    So we are all inconvenienced once again by the US. Wikipedia shuts down, not its American site, but its English language site, in spite of the fact that there are more English speakers outside the States than in them, I am told.

    What a good way to alienate Great Britain, Eire, Australia, New Zealand, much of South Africa, Canada, English-as-first-language speakers in India and Sri Lanka, much of the Caribbean, Gibraltar, most people in the Channel Islands, Fiji,Ghana…and lots more. Look it up on Wikipedia – oh, that`s right, I can`t.

    Keep American protests in America, please.

    • Ukee The Monkey

      We are on brink of loosing our internet and all you can think of is that it is going to bug other people? I guess you would rather not be able to use Wiki ever again rather then offend others?

  • Terri

    SOPA must die! Go for it!

  • spammer exterminator

    I just read the list of participating sites, Not good. I only heard of 5 of those sites and I only use one of them regularly(google). If you really want to send a message you can’t do it without some serious mainstream websites. You need sites like eBay, Amazon, FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter, any website with 100,000+ unique visitors per day to join the black out not just say they support it. No one is going to get the message if they do see what is happening. Look at it this way, some user goes to facebook and see’s a message we support the black and they put a black box over top of their name. the users will hmm, ok… whatever I’m going to go play my games now. That is how most people are going to look at it when they should saying Oh Shit! What do you mean they are censoring my internet and I can’t play my games now. After all they are the majority vote and if they can’t see how it will effect them they wont care. I looked around and 90-99% of the people have a very cavalier attitude about it saying things like so I don’t upload or download pirated software so it’s going to effect me.

  • Kelly Doychinova

    I agree with blackout day. It needs to be done in order to jolt those who have not heard it or do not relize the potential of the bill. I do also agree that major social networds should not entirely be blacked out, but should think of creative ways to demonstrate their support. Such as different background, limited useage,fake popups that state the blog or what not can not be posted than state under that how its only providing a point of demonstration. Kelly

  • http://na swiss

    Has anybody noticed that many of the major supporters of PIPA and SOPA are part of the New World Order….
    pretty scary

  • Mr.D

    You list moveon.org however they are up and running and have no mention of this issue on their site. Perhaps they are waiting another hour? I hope they really are supporting this movement to stop sopa and pipa as it would show it is not a right vs. left issue.

    • Mr.D

      I stand corrected, they have two little story links if you scroll down far enough, and do have a pop up if you open a story.

  • Maria Gonzalez

    There are manny laws now on the internet that protects copyrights. The stuff you do see now on youtube and other places now have to put that the work or video is not theres and even have to go and ask the creators permison to use there works or to post them. So now adays with these laws out there to help these big compinys and the avrige person that makes original films. This law will go and change what others will be able to see and do on the internet if the gov. Was so conserd about piricy they would have tryed the sopa back when piricy was barly starting out and not now after compinese and music mobiles have found and crated and provided ways to prevent and/or catch pirites. So this show that the gov. has something else on there mind then piritesy when it come to passing sopa I can see both points of view and they are both valid points but I am someone that always ask why now and what will happen after. History has shown that poeple are vary power hungry/greedy and in a sosiety like that of this america it is nearly imposible to gane that type of power without the poeples say but right now the poeple are so fokusd on the war and the economy that they are giveing the power to these power hungry men that do to these problems are takeing avanige and are trying to hide thare true intent behind there clams of protecting the poeple I am not antigoverment im just not looking at what they say but I am looking at what theyve done so I suport the blackout becuse now adays everyone uses the internet even politions this blackout will be a eye opener to those who tend to blindly follow or take the gov. at face value. What I did was linked this page to my fb account and gave everyone a heads up to whats going on so they can see for them selves. Oh and I apoligise for the bad spelling I cant spell oh and not being able to spell dosent make you iliterit or stupid I am well educated Iam just unable to spell corectly.

  • Anton B

    This is an iniquitous, poorly-thought-out bill which will curtail the freedom of the internet. It goes directly against world wide web founder, Tim Berners-Lee’s vision for the free and democratic exchange of ideas and is the equivalent of using a sledgehammer to crack a nut; although the US congress has been asked to vote on this Bill it will affect everyone on this planet, from Syria to Nigeria to Australia to Myanmar/ Burma. Please contact your member of Congress to register your protest.

  • Melodie

    This is dumb. Stuff like this like this internet HELP these business. For example, I like Inception the movie. Imagine I had an Inception background for my twitte or tumbler and some one visits my page and sees it… gets interested in Inception… Come on isn’t that heping the industry….

    Stupid people in Congress.

  • Devon Roberts

    I think it is great! It brings awareness to the issue. If all legislature could be done like this, we could see the impact each and everyone would have on individual freedoms, good or bad.
    Just think if google did this the impact it would have!!!

  • tmiles

    I totally support the blackout. We MUST protect the internet! Once they start blocking information, we might as well accept that we live in police state! We MUST have free access to all information and the ability to share information, otherwise, the internet might as well be shut down. Freedom of information, and freedom of speech is what this country was based on, and we CANNOT ALLOW the government or corporations to censor the internet! KEEP THE INTERNET FREE AND OPEN!

  • Mike Seidelman

    SOPA in Greek means “Shut up” and PIPA means (vulgar) “Blowjob”. I think these guys found the right names for their evil laws.
    M. from Greece

  • Pedro Joster

    I support anti piracy legilaion, I am not ashamed. I hope Wikipeda, and Google looseter sirts, becaus people don’t know but oogle is Big Borther, and will sel, gve or whatver all you searches, they compilea profile about you, and know your every move. I don’t want them knowing my business, and telling others, Goodbye Google

  • http://www.bestpaidsurveycompanies.net Best Paid Survey Companies

    I am all for the black out and it will make more and more people aware of the problem and give people an incentive to really research the bill and find out what is in it. There are too many adverse laws being passed.

  • http://robinwajler.com Robin

    I think SOPA is a huge step in the wrong direction. This country was built upon freedom and SOPA is essentially oppression personified.

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