Internet engineers, law professors, service providers, venture capitalists, and political activists from across the spectrum have criticized the two bills for their implications on both free speech and the technical underpinnings of the Internet. Nowhere has that criticism garnered more attention than on Reddit, where movements to boycott GoDaddy and unseat prominent US congressman Paul Ryan have led to both publicly opposing SOPA.
Now Reddit's operators are getting involved directly. They are planning a 12 hour blackout of the site later this month in protest of SOPA and PIPA. On their official blog, Reddit's admins explained:
We?ve seen some amazing activism organized by redditors at /r/sopa and across the reddit community at large. You have made a difference in this fight; and as we near the next stage, and after much thought, talking with experts, and hearing the overwhelming voices from the reddit community, we have decided that we will be blacking out reddit on January 18th from 8am-8pm EST (1300-0100 UTC).
Instead of the normal glorious, user-curated chaos of reddit, we will be displaying a simple message about how the PIPA/SOPA legislation would shut down sites like reddit, link to resources to learn more, and suggest ways to take action. We will showcase the live video stream of the House hearing where Internet entrepreneurs and technical experts (including reddit co-founder Alexis "kn0thing" Ohanian) will be testifying. We will also spotlight community initiatives like meetups to visit Congressional offices, campaigns to contact companies supporting PIPA/SOPA, and other tactics.
While they are not the first major website to propose this sort of action, they are the first to actually announce a plan to go through with it. Nearly a month ago Wikipedia co-founder Jim Wales began publicly discussing the idea of a blackout.
Behind the scenes, members of NetCoalition, a trade group representing companies like Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Amazon, and eBay, have been talking privately about a coordinated blackout this month. Last December NetCoalition's Markham Erickson told CNet there had been some internal discussions about it.
Written by: Rich Fiscus @ 11 Jan 2012 12:34