SOPA blackout: The day the Web went dark

Dozens of websites today have gone dark in protest of two bills in Congress that are designed to stop copyright infringement on the Web.

The bills, the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act, are backed by Hollywood but are anathema to many of the biggest voices on the Web, including Google, Wikipedia and Facebook.

The gist of these two acts is this: the government is seeking the ability to shut down access to foreign sites that it determines are “facilitating the commission” of copyright infringement.

For those who embrace the openness of the Web, this is a scary proposition and a clear act of censorship.

The acts would also allow the government to require search engines to remove entire websites from their results, leaving no trace that they existed.

Wikipedia today blacked out the U.S. version of its website in protest, leaving open only an explainer on the two acts and the Wikipedia articles for SOPA and PIPA.

Google blacked out the logo on its homepage and linked to a website that allows users to sign a petition against the two acts.

Former Sen. Chris Dodd, the CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, called today’s protests “an abuse of power.”

“It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users in order to further their corporate interests,” his statement said.

We’re not blacked out today. If we were “joiners” we would be sleeping in tents somewhere. But keeping the internet free is a big deal we should all support.

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117 Responses to Blackout

  1. votermom says:

    Former Sen. Chris Dodd, the CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, called today’s protests “an abuse of power.”

    Wait – the protests against a piece of legislation are an abuse of power?

    What a corporate tool Dodd is.

    • yttik says:

      “Wait – the protests against a piece of legislation are an abuse of power?”

      Indeed! Talk about turning everything upside down, but that’s been the message for a couple of years now. “The people” are allegedly abusing government. First voters oppressed the president by being racist and not wanting to vote for him and then the Tea Party “acted like terrorists” by claiming they should have a voice in government. I’d throw the OWsies in there too, but so far they haven’t done anything to “abuse” our government yet.

  2. Pingback: Occupy the Internet

      • votermom says:

        Thanks for posting that. It sounds like she’s given marching orders – Vet Mitt and stop the anointed one. If I were in SC I would grit my teeth and vote Newt.

      • WMCB says:

        Interesting. It wasn’t really an endorsement, since she said in order to keep this thing going I’d vote for Newt in SC.

        Seems she wants the people to keep their options open, and not just roll over and acquiesce to the GOP leadership’s “pick”. Good for her. This is not about the current candidates so much as it’s all about who is going to control the GOP going forward: the poobahs or the rank and file voters. Sarah seems to be advising them to flex their muscles and show their power. Newt is merely the temporary vehicle.

        People would have less confusion and a much better grasp of Sarah Palin’s actions and statements if they got it through their heads that she really is a true American Populist at heart. Almost everything she says is coming from that mindset. The pundits get their panties in a wad because they keep trying to fit her motives into the usual political grooves, and it doesn’t fit, or it fits alternately one contradictory groove or another. They think she’s all over the map because they don’t grasp what’s driving her. Once you grasp her underlying populism, she’s actually very consistent.

        Too often “Power to the People” really means “The People should cede their power to this or that professional political group purporting to represent them, and then STFU and blindly support that organization.” Sarah is all in favor of actual people exercising actual power, for themselves, without intermediaries. And that just blows their fucking minds.

        Whether you agree with her on a lot of issues or not, you can’t “get” Palin until you understand that.

        • DandyTiger says:

          Agree. It’s a pretty simple message: people, get some balls, take some control, you’re actually in charge. For SC, vote for Newt to put him in the lead. Then you stop the party machine train and take back control. Simple message. Scares the shit out of the powers that be.

          I hope it works. It would be great to see the carefully designed split the vote among non Romney’s effort to break down in SC and for enough people to get behind, in this case Newt, just to shake things up.

          If they did that, and it turned out that Iowa actually went to Santorum, it would change the narrative a bit. Not much because TPTB, MSM, etc. will continue to push the Romney is inevitable meme. But it puts a doubt out there. And if subsequent debates make Romney look worse and worse, who knows.

        • DeniseVB says:

          The South Carolina primary just got interesting. A test of Sarah’s power over “politics as usual” ? It would be a strong message from the voters to the RNC …. stop picking the candidates !

        • FembotsForObama says:

          I agree. The more fundamental problem I see is that the pundits have no respect for Palin. If they did they would see that she has made consistent actions in the regard of populism, whether she believes in it or not.

          They also don’t get that as soon as Mitt is made the nominee, the TP will back him anyway and have new arguments as to why they are doing so. I saw one of the TP leaders make the remark that until Romney (if he does) becomes the repub candidate, they will fight him and point out his weaknesses, because of needing to vet the candidate during the nomination gaining process. He also remarked that they weren’t like the Dem Party who would not allow a proper vetting of Obama by giving him the nomination early.

  3. DandyTiger says:

    Like with many legislative attempts, esp. backed by RIAA/MPAA, the bills go way too far. They give the government the ability to wipe the existence of any organization or company or person off the internet based on a mere whim of a random hollywood asshole. Just like with Obama’s bill that any american citizen can be disappeared forever because some random person cries witch, er, I mean terrorist, this bill does that for organizations and their internet storefront.

    For example, we put video clips up and we quote things, those can be deemed copyright violations, and poof, we can be made to go away. And if those are things that scare someone, poof, we individually can be made to go away.

    This is not a small thing.

    • Three Wickets says:

      Think the legislation is focused on the heavy duty torrenting sites, not the stuff typically shared on blogs or social media, but the strawmen rhetoric out there has been impressive. In any case, the bill seems flawed in its implementation plan. I’m actually wondering why Pirate Bay hasn’t shut down for a day in protest.

    • WMCB says:

      You’re absolutely right, DT. See what I wrote below. It’s overreach, or nothing. That’s what they always fucking offer. And I’m sick of it.

      • votermom says:

        wmcb, I got a couple of dodgy DMs from you on twitter (virus?). Just a heads up.

        • WMCB says:

          I got a couple from Twitter, too. Stuff that I seriously doubt the person sent.

        • DeniseVB says:

          I’m getting the same messages, something about not saying nice things? I get the email notification for a direct message, but it’s not on my twitter account? I even clicked on the link in the message, but it goes nowhere?

          Just did a twirl around my favorite sites, all seems well in FB and WP land 😀

        • votermom says:

          I got some emails from someone else (in gmail). I am not sure how to check if I am compromised.
          I have Sophos which I am running a scan right now but then I had to google and find out that some Mac users think Sophos is bad.
          Ack. Maybe it would be better to go back to paper & pen.

        • DandyTiger says:

          votermom, just change your password. I suspect someone hacked into your account. If that doesn’t do it, complain to twitter about it and they may be able to track it down.

        • votermom says:

          I’m getting the same messages, something about not saying nice things?

          Yeah, for a second there I got all excited that someone was talking trash about me — but sadly, I am still boring. 🙂

        • Lola-at-Large says:

          Interesting. I got a few odd DMs too. I don’t ever click links that say stuff like, “Check out what this person is saying about you. Terrible things!” Like I care, right? Haters gonna hate, or it’s a virus. Either way I’m not interested.

        • votermom says:

          changed my pw. Tnx, DT

        • DandyTiger says:

          These might not be people breaking into your or others twitter accounts. It may very well be just that someone has mined twitter account names, and then they’ve hacked twitter itself and figured out how to act as if they’re someone else. Who knows. But if that’s the case instead, I suspect there will be some noise in the twitter world about this bigger hack.

      • DandyTiger says:

        See my response to your comment below. Fuckers indeed.

  4. Three Wickets says:

    From what I’m seeing of the debate:

    A: Keep our roads open.
    B: Don’t rob houses.
    A: Well don’t block roads.
    B. Well don’t rob houses.
    A: Screw private property. The neighborhood is for everyone.
    B: No it’s not. We’re going to have roadside checkpoints.
    A: Screw that. I’m going home and locking my doors in protest.
    B: You can’t do that. You have no right.

  5. WMCB says:

    The whole SOPA thing does remind me of the TSA. You have a situation where there IS admittedly stuff going on that needs to be addressed (terrorism with the TSA, or copyright infringement/piracy here).

    So instead of addressing it in a measured, narrow way, the govt uses it as an excuse for a massive power grab and expansion of an intrusive State.

    Then you have the two “sides” all set up to go after each other, with one side yelling that if you don’t support it you are all in favor of Terrorism!/Piracy!, and the other side poo-pooing that the problem is a problem at all.

    Where are the sane, measured responses calling for “Let’s find a way to deal with this very real problem, but in a way that does not infringe on privacy and freedoms in a blanket manner”?? Why are my fucking choices always reduced to “Surrender all privacy and freedom to the govt, or submit to lawless anarchy” by the assholes in power?

    As I find myself doing so often these days, I cry out that NO, those are not the only two choices: I REJECT THE PREMISE.

    • Three Wickets says:

      Appears to be how Washington lobbying works. You have the Hollywood lobby, and you have the Silicon Valley lobby. Both only interested in the one dimensional apocalyptic storyline, both representing big corporate money interests. Content creation people versus content delivery people.

    • DandyTiger says:

      Exactly. And the power grab is very extreme. Just like with the terrorism power grabs, there is no proof needed.

      Before this it was bad enough. A mere accusation from a record company can make you go away. There are plenty of cases of little kids and grandparents fined for millions, and the fines hold up in courts. There are cases where an independent music publisher got wiped off the internet for publishing their own songs, that they own. No copyright violations, just that the record industry says all recorded songs are owned and controlled by them, period. And they get away with it.

      And now they’re trying to make things a zillion times worse. If you have an image on your website that you own, but that a hollywood company thinks is theirs, poof, you’re gone. And your fined. And you might be in jail. No proof needed. You’re gone. It will take years to appeal and get yourself reinstated, even if it was clear to the casual observer you were in the right.

      Now imagine there is political motive behind some of those accusations. It will happen.

      • votermom says:

        Yup, it is a lot like indefinite detention. Being accused of terrorism is enough to get you gitmoed without due process.
        Being accused of piracy/copyright infringement is enough to get you deleted, fined, jailed.

        Very totalitarian. Make me secretly hope Ron Paul wins.

      • Three Wickets says:

        Wow, they are coming to take us away. This is straight-up Anonymous hacker rhetoric.

        • DandyTiger says:

          Put your fingers in your ears and sing lalalala all you want. The facts remain the same. If someone accuses you of being a witch / terrorist, you can go away. If someone says you’re using a music clip, an image, a ringer tone that they say you don’t have a right too, you can go away. None of those things have to be true, you just have to be accused of them. That’s what’s in these laws.

        • WMCB says:

          TW, I am curious if you’ve read the bill. Because “You are saying the same things that (insert bad group here) is saying” is not really an argument on merits.

          Does the bill have any protections in place so that the things DT is describing can’t happen? Because one thing I have learned about govt – they will exercise power to the limits of credibility, unless very specific language is used that limits the extent of how and to whom that law can be applied. How broad is the language in this bill? Are there actual written protections in there, or are we just relying on assuming “Yeah, they could go that far with it as it’s written, but that’s crazy, they never actually would.

          Yeah, they would, given time. And one need not be a fan of Anonymous (I’m not – I think they are anarchist assholes) to see that danger. Power can ALWAYS be abused. Always. It’s one reason why I cast a leery eye on any piece of very broad legislation giving blanket powers, no matter the urgency and seriousness and validity of the topic purportedly being addressed.

        • WMCB says:

          I usually think of laws as analogous to a contract between the people and govt. I do not sign a contract without reading it, and without the protections I want and need being there in writing.

          Anyone who supports and signs on to a broad and vague contract assuming that the other party is just going to “do the right thing” based on verbal assurances is a blind fool. Legislation is no different.

        • Three Wickets says:

          DT and WMCB, I don’t disagree with either of you on these specific points. And I will take the time to read the flawed legislation more carefully. Let’s just say given my experience, I am as skeptical about the motives of companies like Google in Silicon Valley as I am about the lumbering dinosaurs in Hollywood. Given the economy though, I tend to think first about the impact of these things on jobs. And as I described on another thread, the broad media and entertainment sectors cover 10 million US jobs, but like most fields that’s been slipping.

        • WMCB says:

          TW, I have no love for Google, either. And I do understand that it is very difficult to protect one’s intellectual property, such as film and music, in a digital age.

          I hate to say it, but they may well have to go the way of drug companies: They have an iron-clad copyright for X number of years, that is STRICTLY enforced overwhelmingly in their favor, but it expires after X number of years.

          Or maybe that won’t work, I don’t know. But a real discussion of the actual problems, and perhaps a series of smaller, very narrowly targeted laws need to be cautiously employed and the kinks worked out, rather than a broad brush approach.

        • DandyTiger says:

          I am as skeptical about the motives of companies like…

          TW, always stay skeptical. When you hear it from the government or from big organizations or larger groups of organizations, there are always other motives and agendas, even if they mean well. I can’t fault you there.

  6. WMCB says:

    OT, but Tweetie is once again enlightening us as to all the racist code words out there. Such as, for instance, a person’s name. According to him, when Newt addressed Juan Williams as “Juan”, it was all a big dog whistle.

    “That use of the name ‘Juan,’ the way he did it. You can’t argue these things. You either see them or you don’t. It’s just the way he did that. I sensed a little applause when he said ‘Let me help you’ when he answered the Juan question. It’s in the eye of the beholder. And, by the way, calling someone a racist is the worst way to get them to stop being racist because everyone gets defensive. … So it’s stupid to say it but, honestly, if you notice it, you sort of ought to blow the whistle. Because there is a dog whistle going on here.”

  7. votermom says:

    Is nothing sacred?!!!!!

    Obama Will Use Cinderella Castle As Backdrop For Speech At Disney World…

    Please don’t let the Obama Touch jinx the happiest place on earth!

  8. DeniseVB says:

    A day without Owie news, is like a day without sunshine 😉

  9. Lola-at-Large says:

    My 2 cents: my first reaction was that it was ridiculous. And after some critical thinking on the matter, I still think the bill as it currently stands goes too far. That said, after reflecting on what these censorship/piracy issues mean in the larger context of the internet, I do think it’s worth saying that something has to be done. We cannot continue the preserve the “Wild West” aspect of the ‘net at all costs.

    A few months ago I spearheaded a campaign to help a 14-year-old girl get video footage of her performing a sex act (that was filmed without her knowledge) off the internet. I recruited a bunch of folks (over 300 in the end) to search for the video and images from it, and report/contact websites to inform that they were hosting child porn. In the end our campaign was mostly a failure. We did get the video and images removed from literally thousands of sites/pages on sites, and we even succeeded in getting a couple of blogs removed entirely. ( Only two that not only resisted removal, but flaunted it. We were forced to go after their hosts and those hosts chose to remove.)

    Despite these successes, I say our campaign largely failed for one major reason: Google, especially Youtube. We organized nightly patrols and tried to contact google so they could set up filters, but reaching them was impossible. Every night hundreds more of the video/images would show up, and night after night we would report. To no avail. We finally had to concede defeat after a petition drive and a letter writing campaign.

    Through this experience and some subsequent research. I learned that Google is the largest distributor of child pornography in the world. Furthermore, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter either have no way to report child pornography specifically, or they refuse to police the content when contacted. This makes community policing all the more difficult. And it makes child porn all the easier to access.

    As with the the DMCA, some law requiring companies to do some kind of policing will help with this effort. I’m not suggesting that a site like Wiki be held accountable for every link to a link to a link, but obvious, egregious copyright infringement ought to be subject to some form of “policing.” Even if it’s just the development of mandatory reporting features on pages, or something else I haven’t thought of yet, I think it will be necessary before we will be able to convince tech companies that they must do more to prevent the hosting of illegal content such as child porn.

    Okay, that was $20, but still.

    • votermom says:

      That was a great thing you did.

      Darrell Issa supports an alternative called the OPEN act, I think, It’s here ->

      I haven’t really looked at it.

    • DandyTiger says:

      I agree that there is an issue and there need to be mechanisms to remove stuff that violates laws, whether copyright, child porn or other.

      The trouble with legislation like we’ve been seeing is it doesn’t give a rats ass about most copyright violations, child porn or anything else. It’s written with only one thing in mind. To protect an old business model that is changing out from under the current powers that be.

      For example, the music industries business model is obsolete given new methods of recording, producing, and distribution. Instead of figuring out how to deal with those changes, the RIAA used their lobbying power and idiot legislators to pass laws making effectively it illegal to record, produce, and distribute your own music. Kill the competition the old fashion way, corruptly.

      If these laws passed, nothing whatsoever would be done to stop child porn, that’s not what they’re for. Like with previous laws passed to protect the record industry, these are there to protect the movie industry for the most part.

      • Lola-at-Large says:

        I agree, and that’s why I don’t advocate for SOPA or PIPA. They aren’t the solution. But with opposition can come an opportunity for a larger conversation that can move the action forward.

        • DandyTiger says:

          Absolutely. There should be a real adult conversation about rights, protections, and the like regarding the internet. There is bully crap going on, child porn, copyright violations, etc. There needs to be a conversation that takes into account civil liberties, fair use rights, libel, hate speech, etc. We should err on the side of the first amendment, but we should not let people be destroyed by hateful misuse and criminal deeds. And we should not let some organizations like RIAA/MIAA have undo influence in how these issues are dealt with because they have a lopsided agenda and have demonstrated malice.

        • WMCB says:

          I agree. I oppose these particular bills, because they are overly broad and do little to nothing to stop actual crime and address actual problems. But I’d love to see a sane conversation about how, exactly, one can police the internet for abuses and intellectual theft without infringing on the free speech of everyone.

          It’s new technology, so it’s tough. Is a Facebook page analogous to a publication, or is it analogous to private phone conversations or series of personal letters back in the day? Is the fact that some are using their “phones and mail” to break the law an excuse to give broad powers to shut off phone service or confiscate all mail on mere suspicion? Is quoting an article on my blog page a form of private speech, similar to reading it aloud to friends over the phone, or is it a “publication” of copyrighted material without consent or recompense?

          A lot of this is gray area. A real, thoughtful, intelligent debate needs to be had over how to categorize various internet communications, and when the line is crossed between public speech and unauthorized publication.

        • yttik says:

          “There should be a real adult conversation….”

          Well, first we’ll have to find some adults and elect them. Kind of hard to have an adult conversation with the bunch we have in office right now.

        • WMCB says:

          Yeah, yttik, there’s that little snag.


        • DandyTiger says:

          LOL, yep, my plan has that one little problem. 🙂

  10. WMCB says:

    Great response to SOPA blackout by one website. The graphics are funny. Kitten barbecue is bad.

  11. myiq2xu says:

    “I’m a ’60s, West Coast, liberal, radical, artsy, dyed-in-the-wool 99 percenter before there was such a thing.”
    Said George Lucas, who has $3.2 billion.

    • DandyTiger says:

      It’s sort of like everyone saying their middle class even when they are millionaires. George Lucas, Obama, most politicians and business leaders, most MSM “journalists”, and even many big named bloggers are not part of the 99%. And of course in a twist of irony, the real leaders of OWS are almost certainly not part of the 99%.

    • FembotsForObama says:

      Well, what do you expect from a Limousine Liberal? If you’re genuine, you’ll finally admit that at some point you moved beyond the image you keep deluding yourself with.

    • WMCB says:

      What the hell does being artsy or liberal or radical have to do with one’s economic status? Isn’t “the 99%” supposed to be simply those who are on the other side of the monetary gulf from the 1%?

      So in essence, Lucas here is being more truthful than the OWSers are. They say it’s all about the economic status and interests of all the 99%, when really it’s about a certain breed of “artsy, radical” citizen pushing a particular agenda. Some pigs are more equal than others.

      Lucas understood and verbalized the truth behind who this movement is really about, despite all the (wink wink) 99% verbiage. Lucas is not making a false claim – he’s making an absolutely true claim to be one of those whom OWS is really all “about”.

      • yttik says:

        Uhhggg, don’t even get me started about the Trustifarians around these parts who are all about “simple living” and the “glamor” of being poor. They wouldn’t know poverty if it bit them in the behind! Because of this they can run around advocating things like “boycott capitalism, refuse to work, refuse to buy!” Easy for you to say, your food and shelter isn’t dependent on commerce.

        • WMCB says:

          Doing something by choice (like “simple living”) is an entirely different psychological animal from having no choice. It’s sort of like the difference between camping and being homeless. One is fun, the other is stressful, and the fact that in both instances you are sleeping outdoors and eating out of a can doesn’t make it remotely the same.

      • DandyTiger says:

        Excellent point.

  12. HELENK says:

    since I use many links when I comment, I guess I will be in jail also.
    I use them mostly to show where the info came from, which leaves the reader to decide if they are credible or not.
    Since many you tube music videos now have advertising in them, what is the problem?
    The msm has been compromised to the point that they are beyond all credibility and now the government wants to limit the web.
    This is way beyond 1984

  13. WMCB says:

    ROTFL! Here’s the “Mitt is inevitable” Tweet of the day:

    • yttik says:

      ROFL! Okay, but at least they built Seamus a windshield. The rest of us are stuck here with bugs in our teeth.

  14. WMCB says:

    A comment re SOPA on my Facebook page, from a friend who was an avid crafter of handmade children’s items before the govt stuck their noses in:

    This is very much like the CPSIA laws passed to stop the unsafe toys being brought into the US (cough cough Mattel). The end result was that small makers of handmade toys or child related items were put out of business or handicapped so much that it was crippling to us. In the end, our protests were vaguely noticed and the rules were loosened a tiny bit for us (although still more trouble than it’s worth for crafters like me), and Mattel was given a loophole exempting them from the whole process.

    But…but… you COULDN’T oppose that bill, because it was all about the CHILDREN dying of lead poisoning, you heartless anarchist! Uh huh. How’d that one turn out?

    • HELENK says:

      why do we keep forgetting that the government could screw up a one car funeral???

      the phrase ” close enough for government work” was based on something

  15. HELENK says:

    David Burge
    @iowahawkblog David Burge
    I might understand #SOPA if Hollywood made anything worth copyrighting.

  16. HELENK says:

    I was just thinking ( and that is always a problem for someone)
    The internet is a history.
    When politicians spout the BS, you can go back and find proof that they are lying or changing their positions.
    princess nancy trying to distance the dem party from the owies.
    Now you can go back and see where the dem party embraced them and encouraged them.
    It would benefit the politicians a lot if that were impossible to check
    back to see what they said then, and what they are saying now.

    • DandyTiger says:

      While the DNC and Obama are pretending they’re against it. Slippery little bastards aren’t they.

  17. Three Wickets says:

    OT. If Romney is paying an effective tax rate of 15%, that probably doesn’t include any tithing, if in fact he tithes.

    • DeniseVB says:

      I believe the Mormon Church requires members to tithe 10%, which is a nice deduction for brazillionaires.

      Most of my church supporting friends do that for The Lord and the kickass deduction. 😉

      One of the things I agree with in Beckistan, Glenn’s call for a smaller government, but we must be willing to support the charities of our choice with a 10% tithe. Churches, animal shelters, the arts….?

      • Three Wickets says:

        Think this is what bazillionaires must have been doing during the Eisenhower years when the top marginal rate was 91%. Giving money away left and right for the full write-offs, getting their names plastered on buildings all over town. 🙂

      • DandyTiger says:

        …which is a nice deduction for brazillionaires

        I got a brazillionaire once. It hurt.

  18. DeniseVB says:

    Here’s a map of the Keystone pipline (Obama is nixing) and just not understanding the impact on the environment the enviros are worried about?

    Seems like it runs through a pretty remote area of the flyovers, and would certainly bring jobs to those areas.

    Now I’m not a fan of those wind things, especially for the impact they would have on migratory birds 😦

  19. foxyladi14 says:

    Excellent point. 🙂

  20. HELENK says:

    US House votes to block $1.2 trillion debt limit hike; Senate unlikely to reject increase – Reuters

  21. WMCB says:


    FDR, American Badass!

  22. Three Wickets says:

    OFA’s first ad of the season..

    • Three Wickets says:

      No idea how Newt will do this weekend but noticing today the usual Obot suspects are out taking big swings at Palin.

    • DandyTiger says:

      Since debbie downer DNC head is a sponsor of the bill, I think he always planned to sign it. His opposition if you read it is pathetically wishy-washy. Like any of us are surprised.

      Obama motto: Stand, why I’ll never take a stand.

  23. HELENK says:

    4.5 million people signed the petition against SOPA.
    Think congress will listen?????

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