Today is SOPA Blackout Day (and
belatedly, PIPA too). In rough order of importance, Google, Boingboing,
Arstechnica, 4Chan, ThePirateBay, Identi.ca, Craig's List, Mozilla,
Wordpress and Wikipedia are drawing attention to the SOPA bill
by either blacking out their whole sites or displaying banners.
Wikipedia's blackout got the most press but their effort was a rather trivial
The effort against SOPA has failed on two levels: 1) The communinity (or communities) haven't quite managed to inculcate the average geek on exactly how bad SOPA will be, and; 2) They've failed miserably in getting the average geek to understand just how bad things are *already* without SOPA.
I've heard a dozen times SOPA described simply as a bill to "order the removal of DNS records of sites thought to enable piracy". Newsflash guys: The US government have been doing this for 18 months already and more than 300 domains have been confiscated. A site which was declared legal TWICE in Spain just disappeared from the Internet. They weren't selling counterfeit goods, they weren't hosting warez or movies or songs - they simply hosted links. At least two dozen such sites were seized during 2011. As far as I know, only one site, Dajaz1.com is up and working again after being seized by the authorities. Their lawyer was not allowed to see any of the judgements in connection with this case. The case did not actually exist in any court. He was not even notified when they gave up and the site was released.
The program which is running already is called Operation In Our Sites, an effort by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to meddle in affairs well beyond any port, airport or border crossing. The program is known as ICE for short.
Remember, this is not SOPA, this has been going on for 18 months.
However in a discouraging aspect to the story it seems like none of the sites that got shafted by ICE are displaying any kind of ICE/SOPA-related notice today. I checked all the sites listed on the page of the FireICE add-on for Firefox: Firstrow, Atdhe, Torrent-finder, Movies-links, Rojadirecta, Ilemi, TVshack, HQ-Streams, Onsmash and Rapgodfather. Nothing. I also checked Wiziwig, Filespump, Channelsurfing, Absolutepoker, Funtimebingo, Truepoker and Betmaker. Still nothing.
Of the sites that got shafted by ICE, the ONLY one taking any action against SOPA is the afore-mentioned Dajaz1 - the site that was confiscated for a whole 12 months without any due process nor any paperwork whatsoever.
Several sites are tracking who is participating in SOPA blackout day. Perhaps you might want to help record who is participating and who is NOT particpating by going over to Herdict, a project run by the Berkman Centre for Internet & Society. We could get some interesting data.