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More SOPA drama coming soon

The Stop Online Piracy Act has created a lot of what Gizmodo characterizes as "grumbling and muttering" online; now the website Reddit is stepping up the drama. Reddit will blackout its site on January 18th. Instead of headlines and hundreds of comments on entries like: "So it's my cake day, and I can't draw, sing or play any instruments, but my dad and I made this from scratch last year.", "Never say Never (A Netflix Member Review)" and many others that are NSFW, Reddit users will see a page that explains SOPA, Reddit's objections, and  how to take action. 

(I can only hope they leave a comment section open. Otherwise Reddit users heads might explode.)

From the Reddit blog:

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.

Time magazine's Techland blog reports that Wikipedia may follow Reddit's lead here. 

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales writes ”it would be great if we could act quickly to coordinate with Reddit,” thought adding the community needs a “thumbs up/thumbs down vote” on whether or not to participate, and “we don’t have the luxury of time that we usually have, in terms of negotiating with each other for weeks about what’s exactly the best possible thing to do.” I suspect the ratio of those in favor of a blackout to those opposed would be greater for a more activist site like Reddit than one that’s more mainstream (and let’s be honest, passive) like Wikipedia.

Gizmodo's take on this is interesting: 

A blackout is a bold move on Reddit's part, and probably the biggest statement we've seen made against SOPA so far.

But I don't think it's enough. There's an element of preaching to the choir here: most Reddit users are tech-savvy and, probably, already oppose SOPA. We need more if we're to dissuade people from supporting the act.

What's needed to make real impact is for some of the big boys, like Google or Facebook, which both oppose SOPA, to do something similar. The chances of that are very, very slim — but without it, the message just isn't loud enough.

About the author

Adriene Hill is a senior multimedia reporter for the Marketplace sustainability desk, with a focus on consumer issues and the individual relationship to sustainability and the environment.
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