Reddit Plans To Black Out Site For A Day To Protest SOPA/PIPA

from the go-reddit dept

In conjunction with next week’s House Oversight Committee hearing on the technical impact of DNS blocking in bills like SOPA/PIPA, Reddit has taken the huge step of deciding to black out its entire site for a 12 hour period — from 8am to 8pm ET. The guys behind the site admit that this is not a decision they take lightly, and that many in the community disagree with it — but it’s something they feel needs to be done:

The freedom, innovation, and economic opportunity that the Internet enables is in jeopardy. Congress is considering legislation that will dramatically change your Internet experience and put an end to reddit and many other sites you use everyday. Internet experts, organizations, companies, entrepreneurs, legal experts, journalists, and individuals have repeatedly expressed how dangerous this bill is. If we do nothing, Congress will likely pass the Protect IP Act (in the Senate) or the Stop Online Piracy Act (in the House), and then the President will probably sign it into law. There are powerful forces trying to censor the Internet, and a few months ago many people thought this legislation would surely pass. However, there’s a new hope that we can defeat this dangerous legislation.

We’ve seen some amazing activism organized by redditors at /r/sopa and across the reddit community at large. You have made a difference in this fight; and as we near the next stage, and after much thought, talking with experts, and hearing the overwhelming voices from the reddit community, we have decided that we will be blacking out reddit on January 18th from 8am–8pm EST (1300–0100 UTC).

This is the same Reddit that got over 2 billion pageviews last month. Taking down the site for an entire 12 hours is a huge, huge deal. But, according to Lamar Smith, they’re nobody…

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Companies: reddit

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Comments on “Reddit Plans To Black Out Site For A Day To Protest SOPA/PIPA”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Coordination

I hope so as well. I’d like to see the whole world learn about SOPA and PIPA, and more than that, I’d like the whole world to learn that writing stupid bills like that is standard practice. (COICA, original version of DMCA, etc.)

Don’t just tell people about SOPA/PIPA, tell them that they’re just the latest in an unending onslaught from a heavily corrupt congress.
Barely managing to make the DMCA reasonable wasn’t enough, stopping COICA wasn’t enough, and stopping SOPA/PIPA won’t be enough. Weeds grow back until you take out the roots.

Machin Shin (profile) says:

Re: Coordination

Really I would love to see Google man up and protest by shutting down. Can you even imagine the effect it would have if Google shut everything down for 12 hours? Just turn off all their servers and take a day off. It would be more than just loosing a search engine. It would take a lot of websites down that are with them, gmail, google docs, and all that is stored in them. Them shutting down like that would stop this bill cold. No News organization could ignore it as it would have HUGE world wide effects.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Coordination

We pay $10,000 a year for the Google Maps API, so they better not go down.

A lot of companies use them for their mail agent. That would hurt many small businesses.

People pay for advertising services, and expect those to be up. Turning them off would probably be a breach of contract.

There would be severe consequences if Google did this.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Coordination

“Them shutting down like that would stop this bill cold.”

While a noble idea, it would most likely also shut down Google itself. They would have deliberately shut down services that are important or even mission critical for small and large companies alike, violating every SLA they offer. Having made their point, they also lose the trust of every one of those companies, who would also have excellent grounds to sue as well as instantly cancel any account with them.

While I don’t think that Google have “turned to the dark side” quite as much as some people seem to think, I also don’t believe this issue is one they would deliberately immolate themselves over.

Matt Polmanteer (profile) says:

Pleasantly Surprised

I didn’t figure any of the bigger sites would actually do something like this because of the revenue they would lose and most don’t want to hurt their bottom line. Hopefully Google and Facebook join because so many people wouldn’t know what to do with their lives not having these so it would bring a lot of attention to it.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Good question. While participating would be in spirit of the blackout, I have to question the effectiveness of Techdirt being blacked out. The purpose of it is to drive up awareness, and quite frankly, pretty much anyone who visits Techdirt is already aware. Its the big sites that should black themselves out, Google, Facebook, Reddit, et al, in order to get the word out.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’d argue that Reddit’s and Slashdot’s readers would already be well versed on SOPA/PIPA while others may not be. The question sites need to ask themselves is when does this become an act of cutting your nose off to spite your face.

A complete shutdown of Google would be an example of spiting your face because, depending on how Reddit does its shutdown that may send casual users skittering off to Google to find out why, for how long and so on.

Facebook won’t shut down, that’s practically a guarantee. I hope I’m wrong but there you are.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Well, Techdirt doesn’t really provide anyone with a general search service. The Techdirt audience is already mostly aware of this bill so it won’t make much a difference if they did a black out. They can do more to stop the bill by doing what they normally do.

The Google et al audience is mostly unaware of these bills so alerting them can make a bigger difference.

Benny6Toes (profile) says:

How useful?

I don’t know how useful this will be. Sure, reddit users will know what’s going on, but, odds are, they already know what’s going on. Most internet users (plenty of whom are tech savvy) have never heard of reddit or don’t visit more than once a year (when a friend happens to link to them).

I like that reddit is taking a stand, and I think they should still do it. I just don’t think it will accomplish much. Tech news sites will report on it, but does anybody really think it will get a big headline on anything other than HuffPo or (maybe) Dailly Caller? Didn’t think so.

If opponents really want to get noticed, then it needs to be, as others have suggested, a site that is known by everyone. Google, ebay, Yahoo, Amazon…any site like that. Even turning off a subset of their services would make an impact. Google could turn off Google+ or blogger. Amazon could turn off their MP3 sales section.

Those would be noticeable. I think reddit’s blackout, as much as I hope it might not, will largely be ignored.

V (profile) says:

Bottom Line

It’s good to see “nobody” standing up to the Hollywood stooges (bought and paid for) in Congress.

I say stooges only because I can’t comprehend how a person could be so completely ignorant of the internet and its huge benefits as to suggest this type of legislative monstrosity. No one could be that completely moronic, so they must be bought and paid for by Big Content.

I hope that Google and Facebook also blackout, with links to their “representatives” – I cringe to use the word, since I think Congress stopped representing the people shortly before World War I.

Personally, I’d love to see links to Lamar’s email, his phone number and any other information we can dig up on him. Let “nobody” contact him.

Not that a bought and paid for person would acknowledge them.

There should also be a petition. Have the sites normal visitors sign the petition electronically, then forward it to all members of the committee especially but also all presidental candidates (make it an election issue), the media and all members of Congress.

Let them know that “nobody” does indeed protest this abuse of power and threat to the Constitution.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Bottom Line

“I can’t comprehend how a person could be so completely ignorant of the internet and its huge benefits as to suggest this type of legislative monstrosity.”

Our government is against ANYTHING socially beneficial. That’s why the government grants taxi-cab monopolies, much of the food you eat is monopolized in one way or another (ie: by Monsanto through patents and other government established monopolies thanks to a legal system that allowed them to obtain patents and sue independent farms because their plants just so happen to have a particular gene), the hotel industry benefits from anti-competitive laws, heck, even some cities require permits to sell coffins in a way that effectively ensures that there is only one seller in the city. (I can go on, such as many cities being lobbied by incumbent restaurants like Pizza Hut in a ways designed to stifle competition in the restaurant industry). There exists government established broadcasting monopolies, cableco monopolies, mailbox delievery monopolies, laws that deter restaurants and other venues from hosting independent performers without paying a parasitic third party a licensing fee under the pretext that someone might infringe, to sell liquor or host a slot machine you need a license (which substantially reduces competition in a way that only helps incumbents).

When I visited Chili you actually have freedoms. I visited a house with a single slot machine in the back yard and neighbors and passer by’s came into the back yard to play the slot machine. It was perfectly legal. Taxi cabs are ubiquitous, many people don’t drive. The people who picked us up at the airport went to the airport in a taxi cab to pick us up and we went to their house in a taxi-cab, we took the ‘freeway’ and everything. People frequently go to work and back every day in taxi cabs, many of whom don’t even drive, it’s not unusual at all. It’s affordable. Here, driving is practically mandatory. Taxi cab monopolies serve as a subsidy to the auto industry (and they help the taxi-cab monopolists of course).

So many things you buy here are covered by multiple, often redundant and obvious, patents, many of which have little to no regard for prior art. Copy protection lengths keep getting extended because a public domain is socially beneficial and would compete with monopolized content. Government funded R&D often ends up copy protected by private publishers for 95+ years and nothing ever enters the public domain anymore anyways do to constant extensions regardless. and the NIH is like the only entity that requires their government funded research to be made public after a year yet Congress is now trying to pass a bill to forbid the NIH from having such requirements. and much of the results of publicly funded R&D becomes patented anyways in such a way that only a few private entities can get licenses to use the technology or create a drug based on the R&D, which helps those businesses at the expense of everyone else.

This government is plutocratic to the core. Every aspect of this government is plutocratic. It takes away our rights and, unlike other governments (ie: that at least pretend to give its citizens something back, such as in the form of universal healthcare, which I’m not really in favor of) our government gives us little in return. Our government aims to make our lives as miserable as possible at every turn possible. You would be hard pressed to find an industry that doesn’t suffer anti-competitive laws in one way or another, anti-competitive laws are everywhere.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Bottom Line

and, you know, locking up federally funded research and making it expensive to obtain is something Russia has a large history of. Protecting the government-industrial complex and the big business cartels is what Russia has a history of doing. Keeping the public ignorant is also something Russia has had a history of (which the U.S. govt is trying to do through govt established broadcasting and cableco monopolies). This country is resembling Russia more and more.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Perhaps the best way to do that is through good old fashion handing out flyers and placing them on people’s cars. Perhaps we can organize our efforts do so?

We can mention things like copy protection lengths and the fact that nothing enters the public domain anymore and compare that with other countries that celebrate new works in the public domain every year. We can discuss how it’s difficult to get a hold of many older works because of copy protection lengths and how this leads to the erosion of our cultural heritage/history. Then we can move onto constant retroactive extensions after discussing how long copy protection lengths used to last. Then we can discuss how federally funded research gets locked up for long periods of time by publishers that contribute little, they don’t pay researchers or writers or those who do peer review. Then we can move onto SOPA and its impact.

The Logician says:

Perhaps, instead of a shutdown, Google and Facebook could, instead, add an information page that loads whenever you use the search engine or go to their main page, much like that used by some time ago. You would only be able to access the page or your search results after the information page loads, thereby guaranteeing that viewers will see it but not hindering the operation of these sites’ services in any way.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If you follow the links in that article, you can see what’s being discussed and considered. Short version: consideration seems to be still ongoing, though I haven’t had time to read the pages fully this morning:

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