Reddit prepares for anti-SOPA blackout, others may follow

By on January 11, 2012, 5:30 PM

As SOPA looms, a controversial bill which aims to give private actors and authorities more authority over the web, some websites are preparing to protest the pending legislation by staging a blackout. Reddit.com announced it will be joining an unknown number of websites by participating in the blackout on January 18 between 8am and 8pm. Is this the cue for others to join?

January 18 is a significant date when industry leaders are expected to discuss SOPA before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Keep in mind, there has only been discussion and speculation thus far, but ExtremeTech reports there are reasons to believe a number of popular Internet destinations may be closing shop on the 18th.

With debate over SOPA’s future tabled until Congress reconvenes, you might think the issue would have entered a similar lull, but that’s not happened. According to Markham Erickson, head of the NetCoalition trade association, there’s been talk of a so-called “nuclear option,” in which the likes of Google, Amazon, eBay, and Yahoo! would go simultaneously dark to protest the legislation to highlight the fundamental danger the legislation poses to the function of the internet.

NetCoalition has also compiled a list of prominent individuals and organizations who are outspokenly against (PDF) SOPA, although this does not imply they will participate.

While Reddit has definitely committed to staging a blackout, Wikimedia has all but confirmed its own plans. Who else, if anyone, will join in on the protest is unknown. However, if NetCoalition members have been discussing it as Erickson suggests, that could include some real heavy hitters:

  • AOL
  • Ebay
  • Etsy
  • Facebook
  • Foursquare
  • Google
  • IAC, parent of Dictionary.com, Ask.com, Match.com, CollegeHumor, Vimeo and more
  • LinkedIn
  • Mozilla
  • OpenDNS
  • Paypal
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • Yahoo
  • Zynga (Creator of many popular social media games)

Websites that choose to observe the blackout will stop providing services, but are not expected to simply shut down. Instead, visitors can anticipate to see anti-SOPA messages displayed on these websites.

Reddit is a hugely popular website and served over 2 billion page views to 34 million unique visitors in December 2011 alone. Even so, Reddit is but a small drop in the proverbial bucket, at least in terms of the Internet as a whole. If Google, Facebook, Twitter and others do decide join in and display their solidarity, then January 18 may be a day people remember.




User Comments: 36

Got something to say? Post a comment
ikesmasher said:

YES! the people with the most power on the internet should step in! facebook would be annoying to some, but we can live without for a day. Honestly, i think they should shut their sites down for a week...but i don't see that happening.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

ikesmasher said:

YES! the people with the most power on the internet should step in! facebook would be annoying to some, but we can live without for a day. Honestly, i think they should shut their sites down for a week...but i don't see that happening.

If facebook went down because of SOPA, I know people who would go mad, so mad infact they would seriously look into opposing SOPA... God I wish facebook would do this now!

Guest said:

If SOPA goes through Facebook will probably go down forever.

Guest said:

SOPA or some variation is inevitable.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Heh, now this is a protest that makes sense... And will fuel public outrage and media coverage, which will force the ****** pushing SOPA to actually learn what they are dealing with.

Too bad there isn't a way to perform a "simulated SOPA" demonstration, in which the "offending" IPs are government sites, and let the government see what it would feel like to be on the receiving end of undeserved censorship without any due process. Consequences tend to be more effective when the people you are trying to teach a lesson can actually experience them.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Ah, and I just saw Zynga on that list. Man, if they kicked in on this, the backlash and fury of addicted Farmville users would make the Occupy movements lately seem like a Sunday brunch!

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

I would hope the blackout would last atleast 2 days to really show support and not just blackout for an hour...

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

I like the blackout idea. Although I seriously doubt ebay would do it, imagine if you had set up your auction to end during the time of the blackout - they can't/won't accept that type of seller backlash.

Guest said:

One thing I have learned through my previous jobs as a support technician, is that people get angry and go nuts when they lose connection to the internet. 2 minutes after the server would go down or reboot, the phone lines would light up.

A blackout by google and or facebook could lead to the biggest anti-govt movement in history. I imagine that the govt. would order that those sites go back online within a couple of hours of them going down. They would say that they are too crucial to the economy to stay down.

ikesmasher said:

Thats the thing guest, the government are not allowed to do that. Rule of law says that no one, not even the gov't is above the law.

PinothyJ said:

Guest said:

SOPA or some variation is inevitable.

Well aren't you an ignorant hack.

You are obviously not up to date with your Chilean news then, aye...

Guest said:

Facebook probably won't go down if the bill becomes law. But these websites have to be careful if they're gonna pull the trigger with a full blackout (Wikipedia etc.) A lot of people don't have a clue what SOPA is, and it may generate negativity toward the website, and not SOPA.

Guest said:

this is all good and well but maybe joe soap should stop it's thievery and we would not need SOPA in the first place.

marinkvasina marinkvasina said:

no FB = all MAD

all qq the whole day, no sopa support anymore (:

MarkHughes said:

I have come across some smaller sites that are also supporting this, including Explosm.net.

Im not sure what effect it will have on us here in the UK, but I fully support stopping this before it starts.

mosu said:

where can we join and how can we help? if SOPA becomes reality we can expect some sibling inEurope too.

Guest said:

I just read this, someone has written that Lamar Smith himself is a copyright infringer

http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/lamar-smith-sopa-copyright-wh
ops

hitech0101 said:

Great way of pressuring the government.

Guest said:

Are we living in the United States of America or are we in Cuba or Venezuela

Guest said:

I could care less about facebook, twitter or any other social site being blacked out but shutting down google and yahoo where many of us have mail accounts is something to see.I guess we can say we live in the socialist republic of America, where a minor group of insignificant actors and who knows what decide to shut down the internet why don't they shut down TV stations na that would hurt their exposition and want to be seen and heard.As pay back I would suggest boycot theaters across america and give them a taste of their own medicine.

Guest said:

Or google could just blackout for a few hours and give a damn good chance at stopping sopa.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

A lot of people don't have a clue what SOPA is, and it may generate negativity toward the website, and not SOPA.

Depends how its done. If the sites just went away for a while then yes. But if they just replaced their pages with a message saying why they are doing it they could educate a lot of people, with that new knowledge many would probably decide it is not a good piece of legislation and perhaps do something to help get it stopped. Most people probably wouldn't, but some would.

Guest said:

SOPA is due to pressure from the entertainment industry, not the US administration, but it fits perfectly with what the US government want to be able to achieve - namely to be able shut down unfavourable sites on a technicality.

The entertainment industry, especially the music industry, have been aggressively lobbying for this for the last decade or more. There is big money at stake here, some big players are involved and it's all about them and their profits, not the average person.

Anyone that supports this and hasn't a vested interest is simply a mug. This is the kind of litigation that doesn't stop. In a few years there will be another similar act, imposing stricter controls. The end result will be the end of a free internet and the beginning of an internet entirely controlled by governments and corporations (like everything else).

Guest said:

Ok ppl a little perspective may be in order. The root of SOPA is to stop other countries from profiting from American movies ect. That I am all for. But I dont see this bill going through. There are way too many ppl paranoid. Yes SOPA has the potential to cause censorship on the web, but no one else has any better ideas on how to stop the pirates. Maybe our energy would be better spent comming up with a BETTER idea about how to handle online piracy. Hey I know lets sic ANON on them!!!!

Guest said:

most of the sites that plan to do the black out, look like they are just going to lose business, which won't affect too many people. Not a good move to protest SOPA.

a better incentive I think would be to offer there users a limited discount for there business if the user took the time to write an opposition letter to there congress person.

Guest said:

There's a countdown to the Blackout here. http://vrsry.com/sopa Thought ya'll'd like it.

veLa veLa said:

TechSpot, this is your cue to be party of the blackout as well. We need websites like you to be a good opposition as well.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Hopefully this wakes up the masses to SOPA and gets them to contact their representatives to see where they stand.

Guest said:

I am disgusted that legislation like this could even be concieved by the human brain.

It is an ABOMINATION of legislation, and therefore must be destroyed. I encourage all American Citizens, Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Middle-eastern, whatever to oppose this... Sh!t. This garbage cannot roll out of the doors of any senate hearing. Congress + Constitution= TL;DR.

JudaZ said:

burty117 said:

ikesmasher said:

YES! the people with the most power on the internet should step in! facebook would be annoying to some, but we can live without for a day. Honestly, i think they should shut their sites down for a week...but i don't see that happening.

If facebook went down because of SOPA, I know people who would go mad, so mad infact they would seriously look into opposing SOPA... God I wish facebook would do this now!

I'm hoping Google will join.

Imagine what effect that would have ..

no Gmail, no Google search, no Google translate, no Google maps, no GTalk, Internet would grind to a halt.

Guest said:

If Twitter goes down, how will I tweet about the blackout? :P

wizardB wizardB said:

Guest said:

Ok ppl a little perspective may be in order. The root of SOPA is to stop other countries from profiting from American movies etc. That I am all for. But I don't see this bill going through. There are way too many ppl paranoid. Yes SOPA has the potential to cause censorship on the web, but no one else has any better ideas on how to stop the pirates. Maybe our energy would be better spent coming up with a BETTER idea about how to handle online piracy. Hey I know lets sic ANON on them!!!!

You are Wrong SOPA is nothing but a power grab by big content they will use this to shut down Indi music and movie sites ,they want control of what and how you watch and listen they are so use to being able to buy control from your government that they can not get it through their heads that we the People can fight back for what we believe and we believe in the free flow of information and ideas no matter how much business and government fear them.

Guest said:

More laws will solve everything

Guest said:

It doesn't matter whether it ia SOPA or any other, it's a form of policing the Net...noticed most of the antipiracy stuff on the net is only from USA, with big corporations behind it trying to take control, it's all about control, ok theres profit involved but thats not the issue it's power, damn USA think they can dictate (HITLER comes to mind) to the world, as if they own it, sorry but rest of the world has there own laws and most govenments will tell Sopa where to stick it !.....the net is mostly free and i'd like to keep it that way.....regarding lost profits....make your sofware etc cheaper and more avilable and piracy will go down, stands to reason that cheaper it is more you sell = more profit in long term, as piracy goes it will never be stamped out, some do it for fun and because they can, to some they get a buz, like hackers

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Meanwhile ICANN is requiring proof of ID before allowing new generic top level domains, which will likely trickle down to any domain in time.

Guest said:

I think that if we were to boycott the special interests (itunes), they would get a rid of the bill. also, if anybody wants to try actually DOING something instead of just whining, please help me googlebomb the phrase Please don't take our freedom to the url www.stopthewall.us . By creating a google-bomb and telling people about it, you can generate publicity. Trust me, if you dont know how to googlebomb, just look it up, its fairly simple, quite easy, and capable of making a difference if enough people spread the word once its up.

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