PSA: Your favorite sites aren't down, they're protesting SOPA and PIPA

PSA: Your favorite sites aren't down today, they're just protesting SOPA and PIPA

If you're browsing to your favorite site-that's-not-iMore today, for example Wikipedia or Reddit, and notice it's either blacked out or otherwise differently-functional, don't worry, they haven't gone down, they haven't been hacked, they're just protesting some wrong-headed U.S. legislation known as SOPA and PIPA (and I'd ask kindly they add ACTA to the list).

In a nutshell, Hollywood considers us all content thieves and their inexplicable hostility towards their own customers has caused them to expend tremendous time, effort, and money trying to get the U.S. government to cram through anti-consumer legislation that doesn't really fight illegal and unlicensed content distribution, but sure does trample individual rights, fair use provisions, and in general the whole concept of due process. To combat this, people who actually know what the internet is and how it works have applied equal and oppositional force back, up to an including today's black out. Fear of informed, engaged citizens has caused some politicians to rethink their support of these bills (though why they supported them to begin with should be a question asked pointedly and repeatedly come reelection time). But there's more work to be done.

Intellectual property violations are real. More than a decade ago I walked into a store in Hong Kong and saw a book I'd spent years researching, photographing, and writing photocopied and offered up for discount sale. I've been creating content most of my life. I understand it's value. It's Hollywood that doesn't -- that inflates and infantilizes it, that makes reasonable protection impossible in the face of their unreasonableness.

The defensiveness of movie makers and music labels, of myopic media throwbacks, of technophobes and all but disintermediated middlemen should never be put before the rights of the people who -- by the way -- are the very consumers who buy their products and provide them the very money they spend to lobby for such insane legislation to begin with.

Apple broke this conundrum years ago with iTunes: Make things easily available and price them fairly.

How about we make that the law?

Source: Wikipedia SOPA and PIPA resource page, Wikipedia ACTA page

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

PSA: Your favorite sites aren't down, they're protesting SOPA and PIPA


But then the music industry got greedy and strong-armed Apple into charging different prices for different songs based on god knows what rules. Is this song $0.69, $0.99, or $1.29?
Too confusing and $1.29 is too much for a song. Way to go music industry idiots, you still don't get it!

So don't pay $1.29 price and wait until it becomes 99 cents. It's a simple concept. The only way to get through to these companies is to vote with your wallet. When I see a song I want is $1.29 I first check AmazonMP3 and if it is also $1.29 there (often not the case) then that's the end and I will live without it. I guarantee you no music industry execs are going to read your comment. But if they look at the metrics and see no one is buying songs priced at $1.29 then that tells them a pretty real story.

Google has blacked out their logo for the day but their search and other services are still active. Imagine if they had blacked out search and GMail too! It's great to see a grassroots effort successfully raise awareness and directly lead to real political change. On behalf of my other fellow Americans, I would like to apologize to the rest of the English-speaking world for allowing our politics to knock out Wikipedia today.

Why iMore dont have a Anti-Sopa banner or shut down the website for today?
Do you support SOPA?

Yeah, because despite writing an article about how wrong SOPA and PIPA are, they obviously support it because they don't have their logo blacked out or the site down.

Yea, we know everyone needs their cut for the content they made, but next we won't even be able to TALK about certain things without it infringing on someone's previously made content? Are we turning into another communist country, or are we still the 'Land of the Free'?

Haha that's awesome. I love how naive and ignorant people are... can't they read what Wiki and Google are trying to do? It's MUCH more important than accessing their site. How addicted ARE people to Wiki, anyway?

Its also pretty easy to get around, if you have a dire need to hit wikipedia in the next 24 hours...but call me skeptical that the average person venting would know how.

We know why Congress has acted on it. Reddit's Alexis Ohanian put it into a rhetorical question on CSPAN yesterday:
“Why is it that when Republicans and Democrats need to solve the budget and the deficit, there’s deadlock, but when Hollywood lobbyists pay them $94 million dollars to write legislation, people from both sides of the aisle line up to co-sponsor it?”
No, I do not know where Ohanian got the $94 million figure, but I am a lot more inclined to believe that that more than the $7.7 trillion figure PIPA and SOPA supporters bandy about, (sorry for Google cache link, but the site itself is blacked out today), or even the $58 billion the MPAA says it lost, a figure that the Cato Institute had a lot of fun dismantling.

So is otterbox one of these sites or am I just getting timed out when trying to access their website?

Wikipedia works everywhere on mobile devices. And everywhere else on P.C.'s but the US. They do explain how to still get to it though...

Good luck to you all. Damn I hope your politicians listen otherwise we're all stuffed. Our's certainly don't (UK).

The current U.S. government is ignoring our constitution and is pushing this country towards Marxism. obama the socialist.