Boing Boing will go dark on Jan 18 to fight SOPA & PIPA

On January 18, Boing Boing will join Reddit and other sites around the Internet in "going dark" to oppose SOPA and PIPA, the pending US legislation that creates a punishing Internet censorship regime and exports it to the rest of the world. Boing Boing could never co-exist with a SOPA world: we could not ever link to another website unless we were sure that no links to anything that infringes copyright appeared on that site. So in order to link to a URL on LiveJournal or WordPress or Twitter or Blogspot, we'd have to first confirm that no one had ever made an infringing link, anywhere on that site. Making one link would require checking millions (even tens of millions) of pages, just to be sure that we weren't in some way impinging on the ability of five Hollywood studios, four multinational record labels, and six global publishers to maximize their profits.

If we failed to take this precaution, our finances could be frozen, our ad broker forced to pull ads from our site, and depending on which version of the bill goes to the vote, our domains confiscated, and, because our server is in Canada, our IP address would be added to a US-wide blacklist that every ISP in the country would be required to censor.

This is the part of the post where I'm supposed to say something reasonable like, "Everyone agrees that piracy is wrong, but this is the wrong way to fight it."

But you know what? Screw that.

Even though a substantial portion of my living comes from the entertainment industry, I don't think that any amount of "piracy" justifies this kind of depraved indifference to the consequences of one's actions. Big Content haven't just declared war on Boing Boing and Reddit and the rest of the "fun" Internet: they've declared war on every person who uses the net to publicize police brutality, every oppressed person in the Arab Spring who used the net to organize protests and publicize the blood spilled by their oppressors, every abused kid who used the net to reveal her father as a brutalizer of children, every gay kid who used the net to discover that life is worth living despite the torment she's experiencing, every grassroots political campaigner who uses the net to make her community a better place -- as well as the scientists who collaborate online, the rescue workers who coordinate online, the makers who trade tips online, the people with rare diseases who support each other online, and the independent creators who use the Internet to earn their livings.

The contempt for human rights on display with SOPA and PIPA is more than foolish. Foolishness can be excused. It's more than greed. Greed is only to be expected. It is evil, and it must be fought.

SOPA Strike is compiling a list of sites that are also going dark for Jan 18. If you want an Internet where human rights, free speech and the rule of law are not subordinated to the entertainment industry's profits, I hope you'll join us on it.

Thank you.


    1. My website does not get very many visitors but I shall be putting a giant SOPA BAD banner in the MOTD of my TF2 server which gets 1000~ unique visitors a day. Got to help the cause!

    2. I wrote something in my blog so my 5 readers will know why it’s blacked out –  (shameless plug) :)

  1. I hope that by “dark” you mean really dark, as in not just with an anti SOPA splash page. Dark, as in “not working at all,” nothing to see here, move along.  I’d love to see Boingboing, Google, Yahoo, etc. all cease to function for a day. I’d love to see Google cease to link to any legislator who supported such a bill. I have mixed feelings about businesses putting the thumb screws to elected representatives, but, f*uck, this is getting ridiculous.

    1. Well, shutting down servers, not telling visitors why, would be a bit counter productive, I’d say.

      Most visitors probably won’t have heard about neither SOPA or the strike, so they’ll just assume you have some hardware problem…

      Not much pressure on the politician from that…

      Much better to show a black page declaring “Today we are closed to show what the effect will be if SOPA and PIPA are implemented. Tell your politician that this is not what you want.”

      1. No, I didn’t mean not telling visitors why. I think that would be taken care of by the splash screen. Sorry, I don’t think I was clear about that. Yes, a splash screen explaining why, but not a simple click through to business as usual, is what I meant.

        1. The problem with actually removing all content is Google. A site like this is being constantly spidered by Google to catch fresh posts as they happen. If all the content was actually killed, as opposed to masked by an overlay of some sort, then Google would kill all the entries in its index and Boing Boing’s traffic (and business) would be irreparably harmed far beyond the blackout period.

          1. We can black it out in such a way that search engine spiders see content, but normal browsers get the blackout. Still looking into the best way to go about it, though.

          2.   @beschizza:disqus   So does that imply that savvy users (who already are aware of and oppose SOPA) can spoof their user agent (quite easy with plugins available for firefox and chrome) and catch up on older content, if they so desire, during the blackout?

  2. Sweet!  I’m for the entire Internet going dark.  And staying dark.  It’s our only hope…

    1. Stone Age 2.0, very effective to promote freedom of speech, if you have any integrity you will never use the internet again, along with your “likes”

      1. That is so true: no freedom of speech existed before The Internet.  Thank Ghod it is around now or we’d be utterly lost…

  3. Awesome! *makes note of accumulating reading material for that day* ;)

    (For all it’s worth, I’ll gladly take my own site down in support, even though it’s being renovated and attracting about 0.2 people a day…)

  4. Very well put. This has gone far beyond greed; it is about a reckless disregard for fundamental civil liberties when they interfere with corporate ironfist control of culture.

    My blog ( will go dark on January 18, too.

  5. Please explain more fully what going dark means and how that will send a message, form boingboing and others, to those that need to hear it. Godspeed.

    1. Going dark means disabling your site’s normal operations and replacing the landing page (and any requests for other pages) with a single page explaining that the site is unavailable in protest of SOPA/PIPA.

  6. The thought that websites and content that people (including me) have worked hard on and spent a lot of cash on would now become completely unusable disgusts me. SOPA would kill creativity and the spread of ideas and inspiration, I support you 100%

  7. Very well put! I’ve been recently exposed to your speeches on youtube and I must say you put things very well! Thanks for  bringing these issues to light!

  8. “Big Content haven’t just declared war on Boing Boing and Reddit and the rest of the “fun” Internet: they’ve declared war on etc. etc. etc.”

    I find this a bit hyperbolic. What is your reason for thinking that the people behind this bill have any hostile intent towards any of these groups? If those groups do lose freedoms because of SOPA, it will be because of ignorance and negligence on Congress’ part, not explicit hostility. Have legislators heard of Reddit? If not, how can you “declare war” on something you’ve never heard of?

    1. Recklessness, and willful indifference to the foreseeable consequences of one’s actions stands in for intent, as it does with many crimes, like drunk driving. A drunk driver who kills people with his vehicle doesn’t target specific victims, but we hold such people directly responsible for murdering them.

    2. Well, we declared war on a nation our president literally couldn’t locate on a map, which may be worse than not knowing its name.  In this case, they may not be able to name the members of the group but they can recite the qualifiers that place entities in that group. But aside from that, this is a “If you’re not for us you’re against us and we will bring you down” war, which means we’re on the other side by definition. Besides most Big Wigs in all the groups involved in this legislation may not know those names, but then they also don’t know much of anything else about the Internet (Fun thing to do: tell an Old Business guy how the Internet works. You get to the IETF and RFCs and their heads explode.)…that’s why they have aides and assistants and all that.

      Saying what does it matter if I go black is like saying what does it matter if I vote. It’s a way to speak, and the effects of these proposed pieces of legislation are unspeakable.

    3. Absurdly broad laws invite absurdly broad lawsuits. You *intend* it for terrorists, next thing you know some smart-alec in a sharkskin suit is using it for a restaurant review.  Because that’s their job. 

  9. Good on you BoingBoing.  Taking a little revenue hit to stop this monstrosity of a bill is admirable to say the least.

    1. No – that was about photographing the people affected by the internet, if I recall correctly, and preserving an archive of the kind of people who used the internet circa 1996. Imagine doing it now – the internet has moved from the playground of the elite to an open house for any kind of weirdo. How exciting!

    1. Bleh. I thought Ayn believed in the Golden Rule, where he who hath the gold makes the rules. 

      The argument against SOPA is the exact opposite of that – it’s that, as Spock said, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the [greedy] few.

  10. AOL!

    (Thus suggesting my age.) My negligible sites will be going down that day. No one but me will know, but it’s important to raise your hand on this, I think.

  11. It seems like I’ve been tweeting about this for ages and I want to join on the 18th even though I believe in intellectual property rights. I have a garden blog that doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of the Internet, but I’d like to “go dark” on the 18th. I only wish someone would make some simple code that us non-techy bloggers could use to make our site “go dark” and inform people who visit about SOPA. 

  12. Facebook, Youtube, Google, or bust. Unless the masses are denied access to their status updates, bieber videos, or google searches, it won’t matter…

    1. It’s already having an effect.  SOPA is benched pending consensus, the white house has come out against these bills.  We’re being heard, but it’s not enough yet.

      The fire’s not out until the ashes are cold and dead.  Until our representatives in Congress understand that freedom of speech and due process of law are not negotiable, until they “get” that to even try such a thing is to give up your career, until they understand that they’re not fit to govern the Internet, then we have not won.

    2. Let’s not hold our breath in hope that the run-of-the-mill Facebooker will find out what SOPA is, let alone participate.
      Since I deactivated my FB account 6 months ago and I intend on keeping it that way for a while, I can’t attempt a Machiavellian little idea (the ends justify the means), so I’ll throw it out here:
      I heard somebody say that a psychic said that there’s gonna be a MASSIVE Facebook virus going active on Wednesday.

      As for me, I guess I’m gonna do a bit of exercise on Wednesday.
      But can I listen to streaming radio, at least?

  13. Instead of throwing a snit and going dark, organize a boycott of big media.  Hit them in their pocketbooks.

    This is just going to drive traffic to, ABC.Com,, etc…

    1. By “going dark” they mean replacing their content with education pages that encourage impacted viewers to get informed and speak to their representatives.  It doesn’t mean just taking the site offline.

  14. I’d like to support this with the few small websites I maintain. Can anyone recommend a good website (that won’t be going dark on January 18) that gives a general overview of SOPA/PIPA and why they should be opposed? (I think it will be a good idea to include such a link on “dark” pages.)

  15. You know what? I am in a position where I DON’T NEED the internet. 

    So, January 18, I will be shutting of all my computers and reading a book. Fantastic way to bring in the new school semester.
    I am also trying to encourage all my friends to do the same.

    1. Lauren, are you a subsistence farmer? Or do you not need the Internet the way Ron Paul doesn’t need the Departments of Education,Transportation, and Defense?

      You say you’re looking at a new school semester, which means you’re in school or you teach school. I bet there are a lot of things that are made possible for you because other people use the Internet. SOPA would essentially make the Internet non-functional. Even if you want to return to the use of hand-written manuscripts to do research and get news of the outside world (because libraries, schools, and the communications industry do very much need the Internet), why would you insist the rest of us to do things that way as

      It’s nice to congratulate yourself because you’ve stopped playing Farmville, but a well-functioning Word Wide Web is what makes the 21st Century possible, and many people are dependent on it for their safety and livelihood. SOPA would destroy it, arbitrarily and indiscriminately.

      1. Thank you for elaborately pointing out that I meant I could do without internet for a day.
        I am going for a double major (Local Area Networking and Networking Security) in Computer Sciences so I could most certainly not live without internet indefinitely. I am only trying to encourage people to forgo internet for one day. 

        1. Lauren, thank you for providing some context to your previous message.  You did not say you could do without the Internet for a day. You said,  “I am in a position where I DON’T NEED the internet.” It sounded to me as though you were saying you were not participating in the boycott, because you didn’t need the Internet. I spent a couple of horrified hours watching the Congressional hearing on SOPA last month. Most of those people don’t need the Internet, and some of them clearly have contempt for people who do.

          I need the Internet, I love it, it’s changed how I think and live. I’m darkening my various websites (whether anyone looks at them or not), and I’m going to go on the Web on Wednesday and see who else is darkening their websites. Those people are my allies.

          I’m not against books — I write books, my whole life has been about books. But when you say you don’t need the Internet because you have have books, you seem to be denying the critical importance of the Internet to people who read and write books. I write books: I need the Internet. I use the Internet daily to discover and buy books on the topics I am researching. But I am willing to do without it for a day, because it is essential to demonstrate, to people who don’t need the Internet, just how many of use do.

          I applaud you for joining the protest, and I apologize for misconstruing your intent.

        1. Antinous, you may have construed Lauren’s intent, but I did not. I hope the above provides an explanation.

  16. O.K., I’m totally stupid, but how is this going to effect “Big Content”, the senate or the congress?  Why will they care? I’ve been supporting anti SOPA groups I’m completely against it, but I’m just honestly wondering what this is expected to do. 

    1. There are hundreds of sites going into the blackout now, with hundreds of millions of users.  They will redirect their content to pages that educate and inform their users about the evils that are proposed.  Some fraction of these content customers have or will contact their representatives to let them know they’re not in favor of these bills.

      And so the Internet – just this once – defends itself.  Is that so hard to understand?

  17. The game League of Legends and it’s parent company Riot Games have also joined in the fight against SOPA. They’ve added a page talking about how it will effect gameplay and what to do to stop it. The game has quite a large and dedicated fan base so it has the potential to reach many who may have not heard about SOPA before. Here’s a link to their info on it:

  18. I’m down already, and will remain down for the duration of the emergency.  I’m a little fish with only a few thousand monthly users.  It’s little enough but it’s what I can do and I’m not giving this one whit less than all I’ve got.

    What these people propose is to strip all citizens of their rights to freedom of speech and due process of law to protect the profitability of a 90 year old mouse cartoon.  I am a huge fan of freedom of speech and if a simple citizen were to stand up and argue for that I would argue with him but I would defend his right to say his piece.  And then I’ll make fun of him for acting the fool.

    For a representative of the people to propose or support a law to deprive the People of their inalienable rights to freely speak or have due process of law is a different thing.  It’s Serious Business.  You don’t get to take that back.  There is no compromise position to be had here, no middle course.  That is a failure of citizenship, a neglect of your civic duty – an admission that you _just don’t understand_ that some things are not negotiable.  These rights are the very rights our nation was founded to preserve.  We went to war with England for just this.  Once you’ve supported legislation to deprive the rights of citizens to freely speak or have due process of law you’re a threat to the Republic and need to be removed from office as swiftly as the democratic process will allow.  You just don’t get a do-over on this one.

    Cory’s right.  This is just evil.

  19. I have no site worth shutting down, but I do plan on avoiding the net for that day and encouraging others to as well. I figure that will be noticed if enough people do it.

  20. Can someone make a video for youtube … users to upload.  If youtube were flooded with the same SOPA PIPA eductional video it would be noticed.  I get thousands of views a day but really can’t make videos at the moment. 

  21. Excellent call.  I think the populace as a whole might take a bit more notice of what we all have at stake with a little ‘show,’ vs. ‘tell.’

  22. “our ad broker forced to pull ads from our site”

    Wow, that SOPA is evil I tell you, just evil.  Think of all the poor ad brokers and their children.

    1. Dude,

      Without ads, we don’t get paychecks. And then we can’t pay our rent and food bills. Don’t be a dick.

      1. Good point and brings up another: what would happen if people started putting ads on your site without your authorization, without payment, and no effective way to stop them? 

        It would be a lot like what copyright holders are experiencing now. 

  23. Does anyone know if there’s an easy way to replace all images on a Flickr stream and then put them back?  My webpage does okay but my Flickr stream does better.

    1. Isn’t there a way to make your content private in the settings? I vaguely remember that when I had an account. Just change it back to public the next day.

      1. That’s probably the easiest, but eliminates the fact that this is bring done as a result of SOPA.  If I can’t come up with a better idea by then this’ll have to do.  Many thanks!

        1.  You can set all your photos to private except for one (black with an explanation) but if yours is like mine presumably most of your flickr stream views don’t come from people starting from your profile – they come from searches and so on. So your private photos simply won’t show up in searches and few people will know.

          I think in the case of services like flickr, tumblr, facebook, etc. who AFAICT don’t plan to go black the best choice for users is to put up an explanatory image (perhaps repeat it several times throughout the day) so that people who are following you, at least, will see it.

          I’d be interested from a technical standpoint in a solution that will replace all your flickr photos and then revert them, but based on my extensive experience with things that use the flickr API that sounds like something that’s rife with the chance of huge errors and the potential to accidentally lose all kinds of stuff from your flickr stream.

  24. what sucks about that sopastrike page is  people are adding twitter, facebook and other sites they do not own to the list.

    so who knows what site is legitimately supporting it!

  25. I read it to where he could use it as an excuse to not touch his PC for the day to help make a statement against SOPA.

  26. Cory, I understand the depth of feelings you have on this issue, but punishing your visitors is not the way to achieve legislative success. The White House has taken a stand against these bills, and more and more in Congress are realizing the downstream consequences. Congress is working on the bills, and it’s highly unlikely that *really* bad legislation will make it through both Houses and the White House.

    I for one do not plan to punish my vistors, and I’ll think long and hard about any web site that chooses to punish their visitors. I just recently got a kudo from Reddit for being there six years. I’m not all that active there, and I personally don’t see that I have anything to lose by deleting my account. If they indeed “go dark”, I’ll probably delete my account when they come back up.

    I think you should re-consider, but I’ll understand if you do “go dark.”

      1. I thought the “Media Inactivist” part  gave it away as a joke… or quite possibly I just think everything is funny. 

    1. Respectfully, I don’t see it at all as ‘punishing’ one’s visitors. I would like to think that visitors of a site (especially a free blog like BB) have a bit more of a relationship with their hosts. To describe their decision to dedicate the site to an issue like SOPA, for a mere 12 hours, as ‘punishment’ makes it sound like average visitors are children who expect nothing but free candy in the most immediate way at all times.

      I, for one, have been reading Boing Boing for several years now and I certainly don’t mind them taking a few hours out of their ‘regular programming’ to make a point about something they feel is important.

      I have been away from my computer, and BB, for at least 12 hours at a time… I don’t feel it’s too much to ask of their readers to stand by and share a thought about something they feel strongly about for a short time. Then it’s right back to free candy!! :D

      1. I have been away from my computer, and BB, for at least 12 hours at a time…

        The envy – it burns.

          1. Um, Antinous wasn’t being smug. Considering how much time he spends working on BB, I’d say he was being honest. And also being funny.

          2. SOPA de Hamlet (From an iPhone app called PhoneBook Plus, quite brilliant)
            To support, or not to support-, that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The bans and fines of outrageous fortune Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them. To support is to be more aligned with developing nations like China, not to support, is to be cast out of countries like France And the great empire of the US of A. Thus conscience does make cowards of us all, let your PhoneBook help spread the words of action. Happy Year Of 2012!

    2. “but punishing your visitors is not the way to achieve legislative success.” Sounds like the same line of argument used against every kind of strike that has ever been used, including successful ones.

  27. FYI! will be down both January 18th and 23rd to protest SOPA, the Internet Jobs Killer Bill.

  28. Well written post Cory, it cuts the bullshit and lays out the risks pretty simply.

    For anyone with a wordpress site that is interested in joining in, I stumbled across this plugin:

    It includes the options to display a simple message about why the site is down, show a video about the consequences of SOPA, and suggests you contact congress (and even provides a way to contact your representative).

    My wife, author Tristan J. Tarwater and I will be taking her website down on the 18th to show our support.

  29. Thanks for saying this. Thanks for putting it this way. Thanks for looking evil in the face and calling it out. Probably no one will notice (except the people who won’t hire me because my Portfolio isn’t accessible…sigh) but I’m going black.

  30. Ain’t it funny that a Congress that is so totally gridlocked they can’t pass Any important legislation, is rushing off a cliff to pass SOPA? Methinks me smells fat election year bribes to Congressional whores.   Oops, sorry. I didn’t mean to insult honest whores by comparing them to treasonous  CongressBums. I do mean treasonous, because many of the bills these bums have passed in the last few years tells me most of them have Not read the Constitution, are dead set against the bill of rights, and totally betray their oath to protect and defend said Constitution.  (I actually had to study it in  high school, but that was many years ago before they purposely dumbed down our schools, so we could be more easily fooled.)

    A friend in the music industry told me they’re more crooked than boxing promoters. Except for big names, musicians get a tiny sliver of that twenty bucks they charge for a plastic disk.  So boo-hoo for them.  It’s an old story that the most accomplished crooks are the first to run to the law and accuse others. 

  31. Thank you BB!  
    I gotta say that I’m really surprised some people don’t get it (yet),  but OTOH this is also about education!

      1. No, I don’t do anything commercial. (Would be a bit big for a T, right ^^)  But I for myself would *love* to have such a text in “normal” newspaper.  I have a blog and do a -nc for most texts, but all “Pirate Party” texts are -by only.
        I will translate it into german and already have proposed it to the Pirate Parties translation list, trying to spread it (with a bit of explanation). So you never know where the -nc could be bad for the cause. What if a newspaper wants  the text?

  32. Owing to facebook not signing up to go dark on Jan 18th, and as I don’t run my own site, I will be disabling my facebook profile on Jan 18th.  I’ve set a status to try and encourage my friends to follow suit.  If facebook won’t go down, maybe we can encourage its users to do so!

    1. Nobody whose business depends on supplying visitors to a web site with exactly what they want exactly when they want it is going to change the way their site operates in opposition to SOPA or PIPA. They will, instead, use methods that are *proven* to work with few unintended consequences to the business, namely lobbying, press releases, influence, persuasion, and so forth.

      I’m quite surprised that Reddit is going through with this, as their business is of this nature. Perhaps they’ll change their mind at the urging of their owners. Perhaps they won’t.

      1.  I’m not sure who Reddit’s “owners” are but I assume it is the people who run it, in the same way BoingBoing’s owners are Mark et al. and not some corporate overlord. These are independent media sources that are beholden to no one – which of course is one of the best, game-changing things the internet has provided to the world and which is threatened by SOPA and the like.

        These sites have probably calculated how much this will cost them in ad revenue and are willing to accept that to make their point, rather than spending that much or more on your list of alternatives (which to make any sort of impact would involve much more money than the lost ad revenue).

        1. Reddit is owned by Condé Nast, though they were spun off into a semi-independent organization with their own CEO a little while back.

  33. Since you’re registered in Canada, and I’m not in the US, the question is… why are you going dark for the rest of the world? It’s only the US you should be blocking. Indeed, ideally you’d be saving up all your best content for that day (and trailering it).

    1. In short because it doesn’t really matter where you are and because you can bet your life that likewise laws (or at least proposals) will be coming in other countries if that one passes. It’s like a desease, you must stop the virus before it has a chance to spread.
      And if I learned one thing from politics it is that: If someone says “It could be used for X, but nobody would do it”, that’s a lie. It’s only a matter of time.
      btw: I’m from eastern Germany, I know what it means if your head of state says “nobody wants to build a wall” ;)

  34. Can anyone cut and paste in the blog what are the exact terms of that “POPA” law??


  35. Any advice on doing this well with a blogspot blog? CSS overlay? Hmm. 

    Like most blogs that strive to pass on ANY amount of information while relaying the sources, mine would be crippled by SOPA, even if I moved it off the google servers. And if it were blacklisted in the US, all those good friends I started writing it for wouldn’t be able to read it. 

    I mean, just yesterday, I wrote about how I was born into a country with no free speech, and how incredibly grateful I was that it was restored  while I was still a child. Thank you, I don’t want another Iron Curtain.

    *waves to @twitter-173385645:disqus *

  36. Will you guys be going black in protest of Canada’s version of  SOPA/PIPA the Canadian Copyright Modernization Act aka C-11?It’s as hardcore (if not more so) than the versions in the U.S.?

  37. I was trying to explain SOPA and PIPA to my dear old Mom. Coming from a Midwest bibble belt / business-friendly mentality, she couldn’t get her head around what exactly was so gosh-darn BAD about those poor, poor movie studios and record labels conspiring with and bribing a US senator to allow them to shut down any web site anywhere in the world that chanced to annoy them, permanently, without benefit of legal respite or due course of law, or how this “law” could be endlessly abused to shut down competition from other perfectly legal businesses, all under the guise of “preventing theft” or “protecting America”. She just couldn’t see it.

    Then I phrased it in a way that she could grasp it. “Imagine if some guy claiming to be a representative of the company that printed your bibles suddenly barged into one of your bible studies and told all of you that you couldn’t read them anymore and had to hand them all over to him unless you continued to pay him every time you discussed anything that was printed in those bibles.

    Suppose you were in your church basement, at your bible class or one of your rummage sales for the homeless – When, suddenly, cops bust in, seize your bibles, seize all donated monies, leaflets, printed material or anything using bible verses to sing the praises of Jesus, and seize all second-hand clothing that was going to be donated to people in shelters, refuse to tell you under what authority they were allowed to do this or who had made an accusation of wrong-doing against you, and then shut off all the power from the outside, confiscated all of the parishioner’s cell phones, turned off the water and heat and  locked the church up tight – With you still in it – And marched away. And every now and then, as you all died slowly of thirst and cold, a cop strolled by and utterly ignored your cries for help and rescue.

    Does THAT explain things in a way you can understand?”

    She STILL didn’t get it – But she was outraged at the idea of anybody treating her church that way. So now, at least, she’s against SOPA and PIPA.

    1. That scenario would make anyone, even the folks who support the Bills, refuse to sign on!

      Snagglepuss what you described to your mom is not at all what I understood after reading both SOPA and PIPA.
      (In fact my understanding is that both Bills are Internet based? And both allow for counter-claims = due process)

      Would it be possible for you to direct me to the language in either of the pending Bills that confirm what you are saying?
      You did derive your understanding after reading the Bills right?
      Thanks man!

      1. My understanding of SOPA is that it would empower private corporations to shut down a website, anywhere in the USA and possibly in other countries, that they CLAIMED – Not PROVED – was in what the corporations deemed to be “copyright violation”. The shuttered website’s legal recourses are designed by SOPA to be onerous and near-impossible to overcome –

        Which was where I drew the comparisons to helpless, fundamentally decent and helpful little old lady churchgoers with the “offending” websites, personal-property bibles and other items of a “quoting” nature with links to content that a corporation claimed was still it’s property even after it’s been  paid for (In the same way that a religion claims that it’s deity is the source of a text’s value, and not the text itself), and a corrupt, censorious, confiscatory and competition-strangling bureaucracy/business with the  uncaring and bought-off cops who should be protecting little old ladies/websites from that kind of bullshit.

        In a nutshell, I tried to make an argument that went, “Could you IMAGINE a religion that tried to shut down every church that quoted it’s holy texts, claiming that sharing the “wisdom” and discussing it was a violation of copyright, or that every church member had to get the head churches’ permission (and/or continue to pay a fee) every time they tried to share the “holy word”?

        If that’s not absolutely in line with the language of the bill, which I admit I haven’t read in it’s entirety – I can live with it, and am pretty sure that my interpretation isn’t very far off the mark.

        1. Before any of my comments are distorted or perverted to be used against me, I’d like to make perfectly clear that I am not 65, I am not in favor of any form of censorship, nor do I think that any country should be void of freedoms of any type.

          That being said, I’d like to address some of your interpretations.
          “My understanding of SOPA is that it would empower private corporations to shut down a website, anywhere in the USA and possibly in other countries, that they CLAIMED – Not PROVED – was in what the corporations deemed to be “copyright violation”. The shuttered website’s legal recourses are designed by SOPA to be onerous and near-impossible to overcome -”

          The DMCA is in effect and law presently, private holders of copyright as well as larger companies can shut down sites today if copyright violations are proven and the site owner(s) are unwilling to deal with the problem.
          The DMCA allows for stakeholders to contact the site owners, the hosting company and billing companies.
          All hosting/billing companies have a DMCA policy that states this.
          Should SOPA/PIPA pass, the process for stakeholders remain pretty much the same, and the counter measures for those accused of violations is and will remain fully intact.
          (Why so many think there is no counter-claim available remains a mystery?)
          What will be difficult to overcome will be the neglect and flat out disregard that has been the experience of many right holders in the face of DMCA take down notices.
          Some notices go unanswered, some are dealt with weeks after the notice was sent, others are not dealt with at all.

          “and other items of a “quoting” nature with links to content that a corporation claimed was still it’s property even after it’s been  paid for”

          “SOPA bill’s specific reference to existing U.S. classifications for criminal conduct, which any request for a court order must meet, explicitly prevents the Attorney-General or his associates to seek the seizure of a foreign Web site based on language that site may contain, unless it appears to clearly violate copyright as determined by a judge.
          The classifications referenced are Title 18, United States Code, sections 2318 (counterfeit labeling or packaging), 2319 (criminal infringement of copyright), 2319A (unauthorized use of sound recordings or music videos), 2319B (unauthorized use of the performance of a movie recorded from the theatre), or 2320 (counterfeit goods or services). If the government cannot demonstrate to a judge that the intention of the Web site’s or Internet service’s proprietors is to willfully violate one or more of these specific instances of copyright law, then its request for a court order cannot be granted.

          There’s a court involved here,” says Parness, in the course of pointing out Sec. 102(b)(5) of the SOPA bill, which reads as follows:
          On application of the Attorney General following the commencement of an action under this section, the court may issue a temporary restraining order, a preliminary injunction, or an injunction, in accordance with rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, against a registrant of a domain name used by the foreign infringing site or an owner or operator of the foreign infringing site or, in an action brought in rem under paragraph (2), against the foreign infringing site or a portion of such site, or the domain name used by such site, to cease and desist from undertaking any further activity as a foreign infringing site.”
          Hillel I. Parness

          With regards to censorship Scott M. Fulton, III asked Hillel I. Parness, a practicing attorney and partner with the New York-based firm of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, and also adjunct member of the IP faculty at Columbia University School of Law, “should the basis of these bills become law, the commencement of an action that ends up removing someone’s validly posted content, would have the same effect as censorship. Or put another way, is SOPA a censorship bill couched under a different guise?”

          “I don’t have the same concerns,” Parness responded. “I don’t view the approach here as anything that is groundbreaking in the macro sense.
          We have seen statutes, we have gotten used to statutes addressing the Internet, and the uniqueness of the Internet, that allow for various remedies, such as notice and take down under the DMCA, which was new when it was implemented. The obligations of service providers to pre-qualify for safe harbors were also new. The criminal copyright statutes are not new. And the statutes that are listed in Sec. 102 of SOPA are all specifically enumerated, per-existing criminal statutes.

          “None of those statutes are new,” says the Columbia adjunct professor. “Therefore, if there was a risk of abuse, that risk has always been there. And I have confidence in the structure of our court system, that the prosecutors and the courts are held to certain standards that should not allow a statute such as this to be manipulated in that way.

          “snagglepuss says “If that’s not absolutely in line with the language of the bill, which I admit I haven’t read in it’s entirety – I can live with it, and am pretty sure that my interpretation isn’t very far off the mark. ”

          Not everyone has to be on the same page, it would however be more useful if we the people commenting and fighting for rights were at the very least reading from the same book.
          The legal framework for these 2 pending bills has been in place for many years.
          Any new bill or act has to be consistent with all present laws, in fact the Whitehouse stated this in their press release on Saturday.

          The more we attempt to fight censorship and freedom rights the more the people making the changes will inform us that no freedom of rights are being infringed (from the legal perspective) and that censorship is not in the language or the intent of either bill.

    2. Snagglepuss,

      I’m trying to figure out why we’re having a rash of multiple postings.  Can you either e-mail me or tell me here why your comment showed up four times, please?

  38. I don’t have many followers, but I have joined as censorship in free speech is the first brick in the road to losing our democracy.

  39. Wait, when you mentioned Pipa and Sopa, I thought you were talking about Kate Middleton’s sisters!

    Good on you for joining the strike, BB.

    My fear is that the media companies will keep at this until some version of it passes. And the day may come soon when the rest of the world says, Screw you, America, we’re implementing our own DNS servers.

  40. Aren’t you preaching to the choir though?  I mean, I highly doubt anyone who regularly, or even occasionally, reads BoingBoing is still on the fence about how bad SOPA is.  I’d say it would be better for you to act as journalists, documenting all the other pages who are shutting down that day.  Ones with more varied readership and viewpoints, whose taking a stand really is impressive and unexpected.

    On the other hand, a day without BoingBoing… I might actually get some work done! :)

  41. If the Federal Government guts the internet, the people of this nation will rise up and gut the Federal Government.

    1. Agreed.  They dont seem to realize that the people get a small sense of relief from being able to voice their opinion on the internet.  Take away the internet and A SHIT LOAD OF PEOPLE WILL HAVE A LOT MORE FREE TIME AND REASON TO ACT!!!

    2. If the Federal Government guts the internet, the people of this nation will rise up and gut the Federal Government.

      How do you gut something that doesn’t have guts?

  42. Caps lock not stuck, Im yelling.


  43. Feel free to spread these and use them at will, I give you my full permissions and rights to the sayings.  Please for the love of all that is just and right, kill these acts before rampant stupidity and censorship ensues.

    SOPA=Stupid Old Pompous Asses

    PIPA=People In Power Abuse

    SOPA=Somebody Outta Pay Attention

    PIPA=Protect Interests, Punish Americans. 

    SOPA=Selling Out Proud Americans

    PIPA=President Irrationally Passes Anyway

    SOPA=Same Old People Again

    PIPA=Permanent Injustice Prevails Again

    SOPA=Senators Owe People Absolutely

    Why are all the most pathetic laws put in place called “ACTS” is it because they are acting like they are fixing one thing, while ACTually screwing everything else up?
    Patriot ACT=Uses the Constitution to wipe the mornings constitution off their asses.
    SOP-ACT=Acting like they are stopping online piracy while actually having the ability to close off anything not approved by them.

  44. I would have visited approximately 13.7 times that day, ad blocker off. Now I won’t.

    Thanks for taking a stand.

  45. SOPA de Hamlet (From an iPhone app called PhoneBook Plus, quite brilliant)
    To support, or not to support-, that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The bans and fines of outrageous fortune Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them. To support is to be more aligned with developing nations like China, not to support, is to be cast out of countries like France And the great empire of the US of A. Thus conscience does make cowards of us all, let your PhoneBook help spread the words of action. Happy Year Of 2012!

  46. Please still do this, as it will raise awareness for when they bring it up again. They may have postponed it just so websites wouldn’t do this and try to slide the bill by again in a couple of weeks.

  47. Web sites such as yours consistently make it seem that the only entities hurt by internet theft are large corporations. This is not true. I am a small independent publisher making ends meet with a meager income from a book I wrote. I notify sites of copyright infringement per the DCMA, it takes days to remove the link and, if it’s removed at all, more links pop up within days. Internet theft takes food off my table and presents from under my tree. Internet theft hurts people, not just corporations, and it stifles creativity. Why spend years writing a book when it can be stolen and distributed in minutes? Why rent studio time to produce a song when you know you will never make that money back because people are stealing your hard work because sites such as yours make it easy to do while throwing up their electronic hands and screaming, “it’s not my fault! I just host the thieves!”

    1. Moderator note: Feel free to link to your website so that readers may A) purchase your work and B) see if you’re telling the truth.

      1. I am here to state an unpopular opinion, not to promote my book. Indeed, due to the nature of many comments here and past experience, posting links could result in malicious reviews and/or additional theft of my intellectual property. However, if you believe it necessary to verify my indie author/publisher status, please post an email address and I will send you the links. I would ask that you keep both confidential for the reasons I stated above. Since you questioned my honesty, I would also ask that you verify here that I am indeed an independent author/publisher.

    2. Regardless of debating “piracy” can we agree that the provisions provided by SOPA/PIPA may overreach and harm the internet and its users?  

      I’m also an Indie Publisher, having helped my wife and a few others release their books but I also uploaded the books to Demonoid before their official release.  Why?  Because I feel that obscurity is a far bigger concern than piracy, especially for indie artists.  

      I don’t mention that to argue, merely to provide some background that we are coming from similar positions although our thoughts on piracy differ.  

      Again, to me the discussion isn’t so much about piracy as it is the federal government using piracy as a scare tactic to rally support to allow them to censor the internet.  

      1. I would love to see some suggestions then on how to effectively stop internet theft. And, thank god you had the choice to decide if you wanted to make your content free. You should also have the choice to limit it’s distribution and under current law you do. But current law is ineffective to enforce that choice. Something is needed. Maybe not SOPA, but something. 

        There is I believe a not so hidden agenda here. According to Wikipedia, Mr. Doctorow believes that all internet content should be free unless purchased directly from the content creator. The honor system with no consequence for those who have no honor. While there still may be incentive to create (art for art’s sake) the reality is that to continue to create and thrive as an artist, musician, writer, you need to be paid, independently wealthy, or have a wealthy patron. Or maintain a website with advertising, turn writing into a business that feeds on itself. Or maybe we will end up under the Medicis, and the rich will decide once again what is available. Until then, if you plan to survive as a content creator, you need to be paid for it. Or your output will be limited while you labor at your day job and lets hope you are not too tired or have too many family obligations at night to work on that second novel. I suppose you could always get divorced. Art comes first after all. The vast majority of writers and musicians are not wealthy and they are being hurt.

        I suspect any suggestion or proposed law to limit intellectual property theft would be met with resistance and decried as censorship here. We rightfully scream when cheap foreign labor is used to produce computers and clothes but what do we do when writers and other artists are expected to spend hundreds of unpaid hours producing content for our edification and entertainment?  We scream “censorship!” when they have the audacitiy to expect to be paid – because some internet pundits have declared that all digital content should be available for free and the party line has become that allowing free sharing of content hurts only corporations. 

        If not SOPA, suggest something else. Something effective and enforceable. 

        1. “If not SOPA, suggest something else. Something effective and enforceable.”

          Well, no.  Just because I think that SOPA is the wrong direction to take doesn’t mean it’s up to me to define the correct one.

          The issue with piracy does come back to artists needing to eat, however, like any other profession, the Artist needs to define what works for him/her given the world they live in.  Things are changing.  Quickly. 

          If you dislike piracy, that’s understandable, people like to get paid.  But I will not suggest something better than SOPA to end piracy because I don’t see piracy as an issue.  

          The internet is used by many people for many things, just because someone disagrees with how another person is using it DOES NOT give that person the right to support censorship of the ENTIRE internet.

          I’m not going to demonize anyone for disliking internet piracy, it’s a personal choice, but trying to drum up sympathy by playing the overworked and under appreciated artist card won’t cut it.  I work 12 hour days, go to school part time, run a website, keep house, hand code ebooks, and raise my daughter.

          Unfortunately, this argument could go on forever because we both disagree on the whole “piracy” issue, but have you read through the power that SOPA gives the government?  Imagine you receive a favorable book review from a review blog.  You decide to link to it and share the good news.  Later that week they get accused of posting something on their blog that violates someone’s copyright – ACCUSED, not PROVEN GUILTY.  Not only can their site be blocked at the DNS leve, but so could yours for simply linking to it.

          Would this prevent piracy?  No.  Nothing will, in my opinion.  It would make it harder, sure.  But at what cost?

          1. That’s great that you have a full life and are able to do so much in a day but the superhuman card plays about as well as the overworked and underappreciated artist card. 
            As far as your example, maybe, just maybe that doomsday scenario would play out. I doubt it. But that could be fixed in the legislation. You complain about the worst that could possibly happen yet suggest no way to mitigate it because you appear to believe that no legislation is better than any legislation. That’s where we disagree. 

  48. Site Black out will begin soon. I’m in Canada as are some other commentors but I too will still be blacking out my website as my hosting is located in the US and also a large chunk of my visitors are from the US, so this effects ME!

     It doesn’t matter if your from Canada or anywhere else in the world, this new bill WILL EFFECT YOU!  This site will be blacked out all tomorrow. I suggest you black out your sites too!

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