Google, Facebook and other companies considering an anti-SOPA blackout
Date added: 05 Jan 2012
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Some of the most influential companies in the Internet bussiness are considering going offline for 24 hours, both as a way to protest against SOPA and to get the message to the people.
Imagine you wake up one day and turn on your computer, as we both know you and I do each day. You wait patiently for the system to boot while sipping a hellishly hot coffee. You then open your favorite browser to get your day started, to catch with what the world has been doing while you were asleep.
Imagine that you head to Google to access your mail and/or Google Plus. But once you get there, you notice something wrong. Google’s homepage is entirely black and the only visible thing is a message urging you to contact your congressman to protest for some potential law. "Odd" you’d say.
Imagine that you move on and try to access other favorite sites of yours, such as Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, Wikipedia, Amazon, but they are all the same. Black, dull, with the same message urging you to protest about that bill. "What the heck is going on here?" you’d say. You’d be intrigued. You’d investigate about that potential law.
And as you go deeper and deeper into its articles, you’d begin to understand that what you just lived might become a permanent reality if this bill passes. What would you do?
Although it might seem an imaginary scenario, that’s what might happen next January 23, if a group of the major Internet companies decide that the best course of action to protest against that infamous bill is to go completely black.
A group of Internet leaders gathered against SOPA
In case you’ve living under the proverbial rock for the past months, the aforementioned bill is called SOPA (which stands for Stop Online Piracy Act) and it basically states that copyright holders might hold ISPs accountable for allegedly pro-piracy sites. In the light of such law, Internet providers would have to ban access to the suspicious sites, thus condemning them to oblivion.
Fortunately, the bill hasn’t passed yet, so there’s still room for action. And action is what several of the biggest companies in the Web are about to take to prove they’re dead serious about opposing the bill.
Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Twitter, Wikipedia, Amazon, Mozilla, eBay, PayPal, LikedIn, AOL and Zynga, among others, would be joining efforts to get the message to the masses. The point they want to get across to users is clear: either you do support this (as in opposing the bill) or the Internet you know and love will be gone for good.
To do that, they are considering pulling a complete 24-hour blackout, which would likely take place the day before the bill is scheduled to be discussed in the US Senate. And if you think that’s an extreme measure to be taken, then you have to understand that such mediocre bunch of nonsense disguised as bill has to be stopped.
Although such move is risky in the way that it could anger those sites’ users and even generate some sort of resentment (without mentioning the millionaire losses it could carry), the bet couldn’t be matched by SOPA supporters. By appealing directly to users, the companies opposing the bill might actually gain the people’s sympathy, especially if they deliver the message in such a categorical manner.
The RIAA, the copyright holders and the congress members that support SOPA don’t have that kind of interaction with people just because the relation between both parts doesn’t work that way.
Imagine that in one side you have the companies responsible for most of the Internet services you use daily, those you love and that have become an important part in your life, given the wide possibilities they offer you.
In the other side are the guys that want to censor every site they deem as copyright infringer (a definition the bill describes so sloppily that practically any site with comments can fit such category), the people who want the power to silence those that oppose them, the ones that want to shut down the services they don’t like or that feel as threatening to their pockets.
Now, the anti-SOPA companies might pull the blackout or not. But the discussion is on the table. It might sound extreme, but you’re either in one side or in the other. So, decide now, make up your mind, read about the bill, weigh its alternatives and act consciously – either for or against it.
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