Well, the time has come — January 18, 2012 — and many of the Free/Open Source Software project/advocacy sites, some popular news/discussion sites, as well as our favorite encyclopedia Wikipedia’s English version has gone dark in protest of the pending US Senate and House bills PIPA and SOPA.
Quoting EFF on why making our collective voices heard against these bills is important:
The Internet blacklist legislation — known as PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House — invites Internet security risks, threatens online speech, and hampers Internet innovation. Urge your members of Congress to reject this Internet blacklist campaign in both its forms!
To make the most impact right now, we’re asking YOU to do two things. Today, use our handy tool to send an email to your representatives, letting them know you oppose these bills and they should too. Then, on January 23, when the Senate is back in session (and scheduled to vote on PIPA on January 24), call your Senator and tell him or her that it’s time to stand with the Internet and against the Internet blacklists!
Since LINUX For You is based out of India, unfortunately we can’t write to the US Senators and Representatives in protest. Thus, instead, we thought of documenting how some of the major websites of the world took a stand against the bill — because, if bills like these pass, the dark days of Internet won’t be too far fetched.
Well, the reason for documenting this stand by some of the major websites is to point out that although these bills are US bases, however, if passed they will pose a major threat to the “open Web” as we know it.
Already our very own [Indian] government is taking matters to court in order to put restrictions on our “free speech”. What’s worse is the judge has even come up with threats like — here’s quoting a report by Glyn Moody:
“Like China, we will block all such websites,” Justice Suresh Kait said while asking counsel for Facebook and Google India to develop a mechanism to keep a check and remove “offensive and objectionable” material from their web pages.
And we, like naïves, thought “free speech” was our constitutional right? Wake up, the “BIG BROTHER is watching!” They will refuse to bow down to our “rights”.
Well, in the spirit of Free Software, where the word “free” means — not free as in free beer, but free speech — we must stand up for our rights.
In the words of great Bob Marley, let us “get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!”, before it’s too late.
Read more about SOPA/PIPA and why bills like these are harmful here:
- How PIPA and SOPA Violate White House Principles Supporting Free Speech and Innovation
- Tim O’Reilly’s comments — well, because a publisher’s comments matter, because he feels “SOPA and PIPA are bad industrial policy“
- EFF’s Deeplinks Blog
Update (1613 Hrs IST): While, visiting google.com from outsite the US only shows a “Tell Congress: Please don’t censor the web!” message right under the search box, the US version of the site (if you’re from outside the US set your browser to use a US proxy server from proxyblind.org before visiting google.com) appears somewhat like this:
Bold move! If only the search service was also off for a day…
Update (2005 Hrs IST): reddit.com, oreilly.com, identi.ca, and mozilla.org screen grabs: