Minecraft, the popular video game, joined the protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) with a black out of the site Wednesday.

The site, minecraft.net, was showing this message: We are joining the Internet-wide protest against SOPA/PIPA today on JAN 18th by shutting down our websites.

The SOPA and the PIPA target foreign Web sites that are pirating copyrighted content, but they do so in a broad way that most Internet experts agree would be damaging to the way the Internet functions.

The video game industry would potentially be hit particularly hard, as a major element of the gaming culture is sharing screenshots and streaming game play videos.

Minecraft creator Markus Persson had announced via Twitter that he'd be taking down minecraft.net and mojang.com on January 18 to protest SOPA. Persson acknowledged that a large part of Minecraft's success was due to players posting screenshots and videos of their in-game creations.

No sane person can be for SOPA, Persson stated. I don't know if we're sane, but we are strongly, uncompromisingly against SOPA, and any similar laws. Sacrificing freedom of speech for the benefit of corporate profit is abominable and disgusting.