Have you been paying attention to all the hubbub online about the proposed U.S. legislation (SOPA/PIPA) that threatens internet freedom? I wrote about it last week over on WordPress.org, but the gist is this: there’s a bill in the U.S. Senate that if passed would put publishing freedom severely at risk, and could shut down entire sites at the whim of media companies. Fight for the Future created this nifty video to sum it up better than I can.
On January 18, 2012, sites all over the internet will be blacking out to protest and try to mobilize more people to speak out against this bill coming up in the Senate next week — S. 968: the Protect IP Act (PIPA) — in an attempt to let U.S. lawmakers know how much opposition there is. WordPress.org, Wikipedia, and even WordPress.com VIP I Can Has Cheezburger? will be participating in the blackout to raise awareness and spur you to action.
Here on WordPress.com, we want to participate as well. Freshly Pressed will be blacked out during the strike.
Sorry to take away your daily fix of yummy web content, but this bill threatens to do that on a much wider scale. You don’t want that, do you?
More importantly, we are making it possible for you to participate in the protest. There are two options: a “Stop Censorship” ribbon and a full blackout. The blackout portion will be in effect January 18 from 8am to 8pm EST, while the ribbon will be displayed until January 24. Here’s how to join in:
- Go to Settings → Protest SOPA/PIPA in your dashboard.
- Select if you want to join the blackout or show a ribbon.
- If you choose to join the blackout, you can edit the message that will be shown on your site during the blackout.
- Preview what your protest will look like.
- Click “Save Changes” button to activate your protest.
That’s it! Easy-peasy activism right at your fingertips.
The “Stop Censorship” ribbon will display in the upper corner of your site and links to americancensorship.org. It will display until January 24, 2012 (the Senate vote date).
If you choose to do the blackout in addition to the ribbon, then we will black out your site from 8am to 8pm EST along with the official strike. You can customize the message that will appear on your blacked-out site to tell people why this issue is important to you. Your site will return to just displaying the ribbon after the strike is over.
I hope that a significant number of you on WordPress.com will join in this protest. Publishing freedom is a right we must protect.
And one last pitch: whatever you decide to do about your site, please take a few minutes to head over to americancensorship.org and take action. It only takes a few moments of your time to be an agent of change!
Update, 1/18/2012: For about an hour and a half of the blackout, our blackout option was down because it was not showing the blackout screen and some sites were returning blank error pages. We disabled it until we could make it work properly, which it is now doing, so anyone who chose the blackout option should now see the correct screen.
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