On January 18, internet companies and publications blacked out their websites for an entire 24 hours in protest of SOPA and PIPA, two bills currently in Congress that are aimed at stopping piracy of music and movies. The bill has faced fierce resistance from tech companies who claim that the language in the legislation would provide the government with serious power over content, allow websites to be shut down without due process and serves as an infringement on free speech.
The two sites orchestrating the strike were SOPAStrike.com and AmericanCensorship.org, working under non-profit Fight for the Future. The sites provided the full list of participating groups, which preliminary numbers say included 75,000 sites. The big names leading the strike included Google, Reddit, Wordpress and Wikipedia. The latter spurred a trending topic on Twitter, #FactsWithoutWikipedia, where users tweeted incorrect tidbits to keep friends informed during Wikipedia’s absence.
While some complain that this act of unity across the web was not enough of an effort on the part of the American people, many were pleased last night when President Obama announced that he would veto the current SOPA and PIPA bills if they crossed his desk. While this hasn’t put an end to the bill, it has slowed the process and puts pressure on legislators to continue working on a new solution.
For those of you who didn’t catch all of yesterday’s blacked out websites, from the iconic Google to the hilarious animation from TheOatmeal, we’ve compiled our favorite acts of protest: