Some of you may have noticed Google’s black tape across their search engine logo when you do a Google search.
Or, you may have noticed that Wikipedia has a black page.
Both of these companies are participating in the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) bills.
In the past, the initial promoters of the Internet encouraged free access and lack of restraint on the flow of information. As the Internet grows through use and users, guidelines and rules were adopted to monitor and manage sites.
Most recently, SOPA and PIPA are bills in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. The bills are targeted at foreign websites that infringe on copyrighted materials and media piracy. To read more about SOPA and PIPA check out this explanation by PC World or this article by the Huffington Post. The PC World piece lays out the basics to SOPA and PIPA, who is for and against, and where the bills are now.
One of the biggest concerns about the SOPA and PIPA bills is online censorship. Internet companies and sites are speaking out by protesting these bills in Blackout solidarity. So, as you peruse your usual sites, please take note of their message and make a mental note of how much you rely on that specific site for your information.
If you click on the Google Blackout logo, the link connects users to a take action page where they can sign a petition against the bills. Wikipedia’s Blackout page allows users to search for their Representative. Stop the Wall helps users search for their Senators.