January 18th will definitely be marked in history books as the first online strike. While it might sound a little bit far-fetched, when the online industry strikes it strikes hard. The truth is that when companies such as Wikipedia, Reddit and Mozilla are involved the overall impact of a shutdown is huge. Plus, now Google announced it plans to join the internet protest against SOPA.
Google’s participation to the protest should be enough to give you an image of the big picture. The company confirmed in a statement that it has decided to join Wikipedia, Reddit and the others in protesting against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA).
A Google representative said that tomorrow (January 18th) “will be joining many other tech companies to highlight this issue on our U.S. home page”. The issue at hand is opposing the bills mentioned before because “there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue Web sites without asking American companies to censor the Internet”.
The Washington Post writes that today, “where the brightly colored letters spelling Google normally appear (…) the iconic logo is almost entirely blocked out and blacked out to protest” the proposed legislation.
Google also carries a link on the front page which goes to a page encouraging users to sign a petition against SOPA and PIPA “because these bills would censor the Internet and slow economic growth in the U.S.”.
Greenpeace also joined the cause and on Wednesday afternoon the organization’s website for Philippine went dark in protest against SOPA and PIPA. The site wrote: “If SOPA/PIPA become law, sites like Greenpeace.org could go dark simply because one of our corporate targets files a claim that its intellectual property rights have been violated”.
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), if passed, will expand the ability of U.S. regulators and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. In other words, it will become a lot easier to shut down websites, barring online advertising networks, as well as payment facilitators.
The Senate will take its vote on the two proposed laws on January 24th. Google writes on its petition: “Please let them know how you feel. Sign this petition urging Congress to vote NO on PIPA and SOPA before it is too late”.