Going Dark

Tomorrow, the 18th of January, many sites on the web are going “dark”. Some will be putting up a blank black page. Others will be putting up a page of information about why they are going dark. Others still will be blacking out their logo and censoring words and other clever tricks to show support without actually blocking their content.

Tomorrow, the 18th of January, this blog (and some other sites I run) will be going dark. We’ll have a page up with some links and info, a video and a form.

What’s the big deal?

SOPA – Stop Online Piracy Act. It’s a bit of legislation going up for vote in the House of Representatives in the next week or so that aims to give copyright owners more power to protect their copyrights. At its base theory, it isn’t a bad idea. Piracy sucks. People shouldn’t do it, and it would be nice if there was a way to actually stop sites like the Pirate Bay from existing. However, like much copy protection, DRM and other things people have invented over the years to try to stop pirates, SOPA is going to have its largest impact on people who aren’t doing the pirating.

You see, any decently technically savvy person isn’t going to be affected by SOPA. And most pirates are technically savvy. If you block the DNS name of a site because it has pirated material on it, you haven’t blocked the IP address. And someone has already invented a plugin for the Firefox browser that circumvents DNS lookup for known blocked sites. See, the pirates have already beaten this new form of piracy prevention and it hasn’t even been implemented yet.

The simple fact is that if these companies, these copyright and content providers, were to spend the same money they spend on protecting their stuff and bribing donating to Congressmen on making it easier (and cheaper) to buy their products, they’d make far more money than they ever will “stopping piracy”.

So, tomorrow, the 18th of January, I’ll be showing my support for throwing out, or at the very least revising, SOPA. And we’ll probably go dark again on the 23rd since the Senate will be voting on the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) which is pretty much the same thing on the 24th.

Learn more about SOPA and PIPA.

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