While Wikipedia, Reddit and sites on the Cheezburger Network black themselves out in protest over the SOPA bill, Flickr, Wired and Google have joined in the protest without going completely black. As Congress debates whether or not to pass the Stop Online Piracy Act and its sister bill the Protect IP Act in the Senate, Web sites across the U.S. have taken to the virtual streets to voice their opposition. BoingBoing, Wordpress, Flickr, Wired and even Google have all either gone black or partially black to spread the word about what they see as a dangerous bill that would not have its intended effect.
SOPA's backers and proponents want to curb online piracy, and stop foreign Web sites from stealing copyritten works. But the staff at Wired.com, BoingBoing, Reddit and other sites have been pointing out the bill would not stop online piracy. They maintain the bill's passage would usher in a new era of censorship online, and that people who wanted pirated content would still have little trouble finding it. The blackout protests started Jan. 18 at midnight, but sites like Flickr and Google haven't gone completely black. Flickr is allowing users to black out their photos in support of the protest, and they are even letting people blackout other people's photos. There is a limit of 10 photos each person can black out, however. Wired.com blacked out all the headlines on their homepage in protest. Editor in Chief Evan Hansen posted Wired's reasons for their support, including how SOPA would overturn one of the foundations of Internet freedom in the U.S.
The Digital Millenium Copyright Act was passed in 1998, and it's one of the most useful pieces of legislation protecting Web sites from censorship. Passage of SOPA would reverse this bill, and allow lawsuits to be filled en masse against Web sites that even link to pirated content, Hansen said in his Wired.com post. Tell us in the comments if you've blacked out anyone's Flickr photos or what your favorite protesting Web sit is.