Google blacked out its colorful landing page logo and featured a message below its search browser reading, “Tell Congress: Please don’t censor the Web!” The message links to an “End Piracy, not Liberty” page with more information about the anti-piracy acts and ways to contact Congress.
WordPress.org, which offers the most popular blogging software on the web, put a message on its homepage protesting the IP Act, with links on how to write or call Congress to join in the battle. Wordpress.com also protested with “censored” messages in place of featured blogs.
The leading U.S. trade agency for electronics went whole hog, blacking out its site for 24 hours. Its notice stressed that criticism of the bill was related chiefly to its implication in stifling the growth of businesses. “If passed, [PIPA and SOPA] will mean more litigation and damage to the innovation economy,” the group proclaimed.
People who attempted to download Mozilla Firefox Wednesday were implored to “Join us to protect our rights to free speech, privacy, and prosperity.”
The technology news website Ars Technica showed its support for the protests with links to further information about the corporations funding the legislations. A “Sopa Resistance Day” infographic replaced its usual homepage logo.
The gaming site Minecraft shut down on Wednesday, going orange instead of black with a playful message in scrappy white font: “PIPA & SOPA? How About NOPA!”
Xkcd, which describes itself as “a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language” didn’t post any fresh content Wednesday. Instead, creator Randall Munroe dedicated his site to protesting the legislation. “I make my living by drawing xkcd, which wouldn’t have been possible if people hadn’t been able to freely share my comics with each other all over the internet,” he wrote.
Rather than being devoid of content, webcomic TheOatmeal opted for a 24-hour slideshow of irreverent clips and cartoons protesting the anti-piracy acts. “The goal is to stop the piracy of films and music,” one clip reads. “But this is like dealing with a lion that has escaped from the zoo by blasting some kittens with a flamethrower.” We’re slightly confused by the analogy, but one thing’s clear: like the kittens, the webcomics are innocent!
If the Internet stands for one thing besides free expression, it’s cute cats. So the leading repository of cuddly kitten photos, Cheezburger, joined the act, distracting visitors with a pop-up warning that “This and millions of other sites could be censored by the U.S. government.” No lulz here.
Even the website for the popular Wired magazine, which covers tech trends, censored its homepage content with black boxes. Techies likely panicked, until they realized that a rollover function uncovered the black boxes to reveal the latest news in the tech world. Phew.
The international website for the environmental group Greenpeace went completely dark, showing only a brief message explaining its reasoning for doing so.
The popular blog BoingBoing joined the blackout at midnight on Wednesday with a 503 error that reads: “Boing Boing is offline today, because the U.S. senate is considering legislation that would kill us forever.”
Social news website Reddit was among the first sites to announce it would be participating in the blackout. What does it hope users will take away from the web demonstration? “I want them to remember that lawmakers and lobbyists who don’t understand the Internet have no business trying to regulate it,” Eric Martin, general manager of Reddit, told The Daily Beast.
Reporters Without Borders, a nonprofit organization that advocates freedom of the press, warned that “freedom of information is in danger.”
Early Wednesday morning, NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen unleashed a new version of his website, Pressthink.org—the first redesign the blog has undergone since it launched seven years ago. The temporary blackout redesign resembled the web protests staged by Greenpeace and other sites, with a rollover function expressing its “solidarity with Wikipedia, Reddit, and other key websites.”
MoveOn.org, a nonprofit that offers resources for anti-war activists, redirected visitors to sign a petition that reads, “The government must not be allowed to censor the Internet at the request of powerful lobbyists.”
Sorry, random man trying to sell your couch on Craigslist. The site was down Wednesday in protest of SOPA. Try eBay?
Sports fans care about the Internet, too. The popular site Baseball Nation joined fellow athletic site NY Baseball Digest in posting a warning to their readers to take SOPA seriously. “If SOPA is enacted into law, what would be the consequences for a forum like this one?” the site’s editors asked. “Would Baseball Nation need to have every comment wait for moderation before it becomes live on the site?…That conversational feel would be lost—a casualty in the War on Copyright Abuse.”