On January 18th, 2012 many sites on the internet went “black” to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), including Wikipedia, Boing Boing, Reddit, Cheezburger, Craig’s List, WordPress, Wired, and Sociological Images too, to name a few (in solidarity, Google blacked out it’s logo). While written ostensibly to make it easier to stop pirating of music, movies, and other media, opponents argue that the Acts are so penalizing and over-reaching that they would essentially criminalize sharing and creativity. There’s a great slideshow of the blacked out sites at the Los Angeles Times.
The next day proved that this online action made a large difference, at least in the short run. Seventy Congress members switched their positions or newly decided to stand against the Acts (Boing Boing). Congress has postponed actions on the Act, which was slotted for today.
From the point of view of Sociological Images, this is a much needed victory. From a sociological point of view, it is another illustration of how the internet creates both new legal issues and facilitates new social movement tactics.