Reddit Plans SOPA ‘Blackout’ Protest Jan. 18

The official Reddit Blog announces a “blackout” of the popular site on January 18th from 8am–8pm EST (1300–0100 UTC) to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act. While it would be better if Facebook, Twitter, and Google joined them in this very strong public protest, Reddit understands that it must do what it has to do in order to make a point about these bills. From the site:

The freedom, innovation, and economic opportunity that the Internet enables is in jeopardy. Congress is considering legislation that will dramatically change your Internet experience and put an end to reddit and many other sites you use every day. Internet experts, organizations, companies, entrepreneurs, legal experts, journalists, and individuals have repeatedly expressed how dangerous this bill is. If we do nothing, Congress will likely pass the Protect IP Act (in the Senate) or the Stop Online Piracy Act (in the House), and then the President will probably sign it into law. There are powerful forces trying to censor the Internet, and a few months ago many people thought this legislation would surely pass. However, there’s a new hope that we can defeat this dangerous legislation.

We’ve seen some amazing activism organized by redditors at /r/sopa and across the reddit community at large. You have made a difference in this fight; and as we near the next stage, and after much thought, talking with experts, and hearing the overwhelming voices from the reddit community, we have decided that we will be blacking out reddit on January 18th from 8am–8pm EST (1300–0100 UTC).

Instead of the normal glorious, user-curated chaos of reddit, we will be displaying a simple message about how the PIPA/SOPA legislation would shut down sites like reddit, link to resources to learn more, and suggest ways to take action. We will showcase the live video stream of the House hearing where Internet entrepreneurs and technical experts (including reddit co-founder Alexis “kn0thing” Ohanian) will be testifying. We will also spotlight community initiatives like meetups to visit Congressional offices, campaigns to contact companies supporting PIPA/SOPA, and other tactics.

The post goes on to say that they know the decision to do this is not supported entirely by the community but that it is necessary because these bills are dangerous to free speech, innovation, and the very foundation and integrity of the Internet. You can read the entire posthere.

Image Credit: Reddit Blog

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