The Blackout Day in protest at SOPA and PIPA has attracted support from a wide range of sites, including Google (with a homepage message), WordPress, Reddit, Wikipedia and more. Here’s a thorough rundown of SOPA and PIPA and why many people think they’re bad, but if you really want to know what’s going on, perhaps you should read the actual bills: HR 3261 (The Stop Online Piracy Act) and S 968 (commonly referred to as the Protect IP Act).
Of course, many people don’t want to wade through the poorly written, labyrinthine texts of these bills (some of which, when you read them, actually do contain some awful abuse of the English language). Perhaps that’s the idea? Anyway, you could always start by reading Stop SOPA or the web really will go dark in which Dan Gillmor explains the real motivations behind SOPA and PIPA. You think it’s just about copyright? Think again. The Guardian also has a useful video that explains SOPA and PIPA.
Some people support SOPA and PIPA, of course. Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA), has dismissed the blackout as a gimmick, and you can read his statement here. So far, the comments on the page don’t seem to accept Dodd’s argument. Meanwhile, do you want to know what Rupert Murdoch thinks? Of course you do! You can read a summary of his tweets here, and here’s Mathew Ingram’s article titled Murdoch shows he doesn’t understand how content works. I know it’s hard to believe that the man who once owned Myspace might not have a deft understanding of how to make money from the internet, but…
These links are just the start of the debate, but here’s an important point: if SOPA and PIPA pass, it would not be possible for me to even put these links up without risking being shut down by the movie industry. Isn’t that crazy?