Those of us who do tech support for our extended families spent time today explaining that their computers weren’t broken. It’s just that Google, Wikipedia and other popular sites were partially cloaked to demonstrate against technologically illiterate legislative proposals intended to punish counterfeiters and pirates.
Today’s blackout action is in protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) and the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN).
The non-profit Fight for the Future has compiled a roster of more than 100 online properties that it confirmed as participating in the action and many hundreds more it hadn’t had time to confirm. Along with Google and its Flickr (but not YouTube), the list includes Wikipedia, Reddit, Craigslist, the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA), MoveOn.org, O’Reilly Media, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Greenpeace International, BoingBoing.net, Red 5 Studios, and all of the icanhazcheezburger network sites.
Pierre Far, webmaster trends analyst at Google UK, helped out further by posting information for webmasters who want to join the protest without risking their page ranking. Similarly, WordPress.org has blacked out its regular content and has compiled a collection of plugins that participating users can adopt.
Pierre Far’s blog post – https://plus.google.com/115984868678744352358/posts/Gas8vjZ5fmB
WordPress plug-ins – http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/tags/sopa
Wall Street Journal – Wikipedia, Google Go Black to Protest SOPA
Bloomberg – Google Rallies Opposition to Anti-Piracy Bill
Search Engine Land – Google To Join Anti-SOPA “Blackout Day” With Home Page Protest
Los Angeles Times – Wikipedia, Craigslist, other sites go black in SOPA protest
The Verge – The SOPA blackoutImage by Flickr user //sugar, used under Creative Commons license