You may have noticed that our slideshow is blank today, 18 January 2012. You may also have seen that Wikipedia has blacked out all its pages.
This is part of a global protest against an internet censorship bill. The proposed legislation in the United States — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate — would, if passed, seriously damage the free and open Internet.
Whilst it is an American law, it has far reaching repurcussions for the web as a whole, effectively allowing the entertainment industry to censor websites with at whim with no due process as you can see in the video below.
We urge all of our readers to do everything that they can to protest the legislation. Readers in the US may want to send an email to their representatives on the EFF action page.
Update: Well it looks like a show of unity by sites on the internet has stopped both SOPA and PIPA in their tracks. That's the good news. The bad news is that the secretly negotiated ACTA looks like it will be ratified in Europe shortly. You can learn more on the Act on ACTA website. It is a bit like the SOPA/PIPA legislation, but worse. I'll be writing more about it soon.
Update: A couple of other sites at which to take action have been suggested by commenters—thanks folks!
- reginald suggests taking action at American Censorship
- Cristina suggests signing the stop SOPA web petition