SOPA blackout shows little hope of peace with Hollywood
Little more than an hour into the first "Internet strike," major websites like Wikipedia and Craigslist remained dark to protest controversial anti-piracy legislation and more promised to follow in the morning.
Many sites such as the social news aggregator Reddit and Mozilla.org, home page of the maker of the Firefox browser, planned to launch a 12-hour strike starting at 8 a.m. Eastern time. Most websites experience their heaviest traffic during the day when consumers are at work.
Hundreds of smaller sites planned to join the protest as well, according to SOPAStrike.com, demonstrating the widespread opposition in the tech community to bills that opponents claim amount to censorship.
But none carry the weight of Wikipedia and Craigslist, which began their strike at midnight, or of Google, which blacked out the logo on its home page in protest.
The overwhelming majority of initial reaction on Twitter appeared to be against SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, and its companion PIPA, the Protect Intellectual Property Act. Some users put "Stop SOPA" and "Stop PIPA" stripes over their Twitter photos. In one protest much linked to on Twitter, the racy website Suicide GIrls used "STop SOPA" stripes to cover up an otherwise naked woman.
It appeared casual Web surfers would have a very hard time finding any pro-SOPA and PIPA perspective online. Most sites that were blacked out contained links to pages with dire warnings, such as: "There are powerful forces trying to censor the Internet" (Reddit); "Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet" (Wikipedia); and "the U.S. Senate is considering legislation that would certainly kill us forever" (BoingBoing).
Only Google offered a fig leaf to the much-maligned entertainment industry that supports the bills. The SOPA/PIPA information page linked on the search engine home page starts off by stating, "Members of Congress are trying to do the right thing by going after pirates and counterfeiters," before adding, "but SOPA and PIPA are the wrong way to do it."
-- Ben Fritz