Why’s the internet broken? Well, the US government – under pressure from the music and film industries – has drafted a couple of laws to discourage piracy.
One is SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, and the other is PIPA (Protect IP Act). Between them, these laws could shut down sites that have done nothing wrong, and jeopardise any site that links outside its own domain.
Naturally, that’s not the intention, but the protests we’re seeing reflect that people want the laws governing the internet to be drawn up sensibly, not thrust out in knee-jerk legislation. Above all, the freedom of the World Wide Web is under threat. These are the five best protests we’ve seen.
“Students, journalists and other plagiarists: beware.” That’s how the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 introduced the story of Wikipedia blacking out for 24 hours. Some faith they’ve got in their reporters. But Wikipedia is used by politicians, researchers, teachers, journalists and everyone else.
The fact that Wikipedia’s blackout can be easily overridden (just keep pressing Esc on your keyboard) does little to soften the blow Wikimedia has dealt SOPA/PIPA’s proponents by stealing the lion’s share of the headlines. Well, what else were journalists going to be able to write about? Visit the page
Google.com is the most visited site on the internet. So when it blocks out its logo (famously the only thing of substance on the page), it means business. Sadly, this doodle isn’t available if you’re on an Australian IP address -- the change is intended for US users only. Try a proxy if you’re desperate to see it live. Visit the page
A serious issue demands serious action. Unless you’re a one-man online cartoon satirist called The Oatmeal. Then you can have a laugh. Hit the link to see what you might miss out on if SOPA/PIPA get ratified. Visit the page
The message is simple, but where many of the PIPA/SOPA protests are funereal black and po-faced (admittedly, not without cause) Mojang’s Minecraft protest has been styled up like the painted posters for horror b-movies of yore. And for that, we award them extra credits. Visit the page
WordPress hosts a lot of blogs, and it’s proud to show off some of its bloggers’ work on the homepage. Most of the time. Today, the platform is showing a heavily (self) censored version instead. Point made, and quite well, too. Visit the page