New Internationalist


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!

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  1. #1 reginald 18 Jan 12

    Thanks New Internationalist. There's a great site about SOPA and PIPA over at

  2. #2 Cristina 18 Jan 12

    Against Sopa

  3. #3 ciderpunx 18 Jan 12

    Thanks for the extra links, @reginald @Cristina, I'll get them into the blog post shortly.

  4. #4 elene 18 Jan 12

    I’m sure you’ve heard the details of Wikipedia’s blackout in protest of Internet censorship (SOPA and PIPA in particular), but if you haven’t, here’s an article that I read today which summarizes everything perfectly:;preview=article&linkid=f8d9fb9e-2af4-4b3c-acd1-89ecd53d0d67&pdaffid=ZVFwBG5jk4Kvl9OaBJc5%2bg%3d%3d Cheers!

  5. #5 john in cheshire 20 Jan 12

    Keep up the good work, guys. This legislation must be stopped and if it is ever passed, it must be broken.

  6. #6 Alex K 21 Jan 12

    SOPA + Adolf Hitler + South Park

  7. #7 ciderpunx 23 Jan 12

    @elene @john in cheshire @Alex K

    Thanks for the comments and the extra detail :-)

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About the author

Charlie Harvey a New Internationalist contributor

Charlie Harvey is the IT Manager here at New Internationalist. He's active in both the activist and tech communities and is a vocal advocate of Free Software. You can read more on his main Charlie Harvey site.

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