The Web to “Go Dark” January 18th to Protest Censorship Bills

Internet to Shut Down Wednesday to Protest SOPA and PIPA

Preface: Here’s a crash course to bring you up to speed on the issue.

Less than 24 hours after I noted that we’ve won a brief respite from SOPA, the bill’s chief sponsor said it’s back on track for mark up in February.

But a number of the world’s most popular websites – including Wikipedia, Twitpic, Reddit, Imgur, Mozilla and WordPress – are “going dark” on Wednesday January 18th to protest the censorship bills (SOPA and PIPA).

In addition, Google and other web titans will place prominent messages on their front pages urging their readers to oppose the draconian bills.

For example, Google has replaced its normal logo with this image (which links to an anti-SOPA page):

https://www.google.com/logos/2012/sopa12_hp.png

(Some popular porn sites like SpankWire.com are doing the same.)

SopaStrike.com has the following list:

Confirmed Participants:

Not all of SopaStrike’s information has been confirmed, and we know of at least a couple of these which are incorrect. On other other hand, I predict that thousands of sites will go dark tomorrow which aren’t on this list.

It’s easy for webmasters to join in the campaign. As SopaStrike notes:

Put this on your site or automate it by putting this [javascript] into your header, which will start the blackout at 8AM EST and end at 8PM EST.

You can use this alternative code from Zachary Johnson. Get a sense of what sites will look like before and after you insert the code. (Here’s more on Johnson’s code.)

WordPress – which hosts 60 millions blogs, and is the 18th most popular site on the web – sent the following message to its users:

We are making it possible for you to participate in the protest. There are two options: a “Stop Censorship” ribbon and a full blackout. The blackout portion will be in effect January 18 from 8am to 8pm EST, while the ribbon will be displayed until January 24. Here’s how to join in:

  1. Go to Settings → Protest SOPA/PIPA in your dashboard.
  2. Select if you want to join the blackout or show a ribbon.
  3. If you choose to join the blackout, you can edit the message that will be shown on your site during the blackout.
  4. Preview what your protest will look like.
  5. Click “Save Changes” button to activate your protest.

That’s it! Easy-peasy activism right at your fingertips.

The “Stop Censorship” ribbon will display in the upper corner of your site and links to americancensorship.org. It will display until January 24, 2012 (the Senate vote date).

If you choose to do the blackout in addition to the ribbon, then we will black out your site from 8am to 8pm EST along with the official strike. You can customize the message that will appear on your blacked-out site to tell people why this issue is important to you. Your site will return to just displaying the ribbon after the strike is over.

I hope that a significant number of you on WordPress.com will join in this protest. Publishing freedom is a right we must protect.

And one last pitch: whatever you decide to do about your site, please take a few minutes to head over to americancensorship.org and take action. It only takes a few moments of your time to be an agent of change!

BloggerMint created a similar SOPA ribbon for websites hosted by Blogger.com, the other 800-pound giant website platform (hosting at least 50 million sites).

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