Wednesday, 18 January 2012


Today's the day that a number of high profile websites are demonstrating their opposition to the SOPA and PIPA bills currently pending in Congress. The upshot of these bills passing into law is that they are tantamount to giving powerful content industry groups the power to cut-off from the internet or censor websites that are accused of hosting material that doesn't belong to them. Bear in mind that these bills have been sponsored and co-written by representatives of the entertainment industry (eg the MPAA) and it's plain to see whose interests are being served here.

Under the proposed legislation the US Attorney General would have the power to demand ISPS so block access to foreign websites suspected of dealing in pirated content, as well as making search engines delist such istes from the search indexes. Other powers include the blocking of payement services to accused sites too (and we all know what happened to Wikileaks when its funding services where blocked). If these standards were applied to several prominent US-based sites many of them would be in trouble (eg Tumblr, Wordpress, Blogger, Google, etc).

There have been some last minute amendments to the proposed bills but they haven't removed the threat to free speech entirely. That's why it's good to see several prominent sites doing their bit to raise public awareness of the threats involved.

Over at TorrentFreak you can find a compilation of websites that are participating in a self-imposed censorship/black-out campaign. I'm going to add links or images to those already covered by TorrentFreak as I come across them. Please feel free to contact me either in the comments, via Twitter or email with any more.

Those sites known to be taking part are in today's black-out are:


Wikipedia, the student's friend, will be down for 24 hours (except for the pages about SOPA and PIPA)


Insanely addictive browser-based game Minecraft is down


The community-powered news site, reddit, is down

Open Rights Group

The Open Rights Group are UK digital activists and they are making sure people know about these heinous bills


The creators of the blogging content management system of choice, Wordpress, are censored.

Even TorrentFreak themselves are making a stand. Lord knows, they've been inaccurately accused of being pirates enough times


Ever-popular tech site Wired are in self-imposed blackout mode


The classifieds service, Craigslist, is also making a stand

Rock, Paper, Shotgun

The video game review site Rock, Paper, Shotgun is down

The Oatmeal

Satirical comedy site The Oatmeal is down

Humble Bundle

Online independent games retailer HumbleBundle have gone dark


The alternate pop-culture wiki-based encyclopaedia, Wikia, is protesting


Makers of the free media centre resource, XBMC, have gone dark


Piracy-based news site Zeropaid has blacked out


Long-running torrent site Demonoid is blacked out

Boing Boing

Cory Doctorow's Boing Boing site has gone offline


UK-based TV catch-up torrent site UKNova had an interesting message for its users


Mark Zuckerberg kinda supports the anti SOPA business but Facebook isn't quite going dark

Absolute Punk

The punks over at Absolute Punk are against SOPA

Liberal Conspiracy

Those good folks on the Left at Liberal Conspiracy are blacking out their homepage


The gaming site for gamers, by gamers, Destructoid is dark

Know Your Meme

Not to be outdone by a spreading meme, Know Your Meme actually became part of what they normally document

This Isn't Happiness

The photography/art-based propaganda site This Isn't Happiness embraced the darkness


As the easy way to share images, imgur was keen to protest


Popular online comic site, XKCD, ran a blacked-out sketch

The Verge

The technology-focussed site, The Verge, voiced their opposition


The AOL-owned technology blog TechCrunch had a colour make-over


Home to all things satirical, Fark went for a white out


The home of weirdness (and haters of censorship!) saw some weird things happen, but hey, that's 4chan for you

Funny or Die

Funny or Die's comedy site got serious about the censorship


Sometime supporters of the bills, GoDaddy, demonstrated their (customer's !?!) commitment to the opposition

More to follow. Maybe...


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