January 18 and 23, 2012 Down Against Sopa led a group of over 10,000 websites in a decisive protest against SOPA. Protests launched by other campaigns also took place on these days. Prominent websites including Google, Wikipedia, and Facebook came out against SOPA.
SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, is a bill that threatened to undermine free speech on the Internet. Opponents argued it would unleash too much collateral damage on the private and commercial Internet use in its attempt to curb piracy. Safety and privacy concerns included the possibilities of DNS hijacking, deep packet inspection, and limited enforcement transparency.
When people began planning protests, Site5 came up with the idea of a WordPress blackout plugin to achieve widespread public awareness. Down Against SOPA was created when Ci Tidd and Ten-321 pitched in to create the plugin. The result was effective, and it gained publicity quickly. In a few days, over 10,000 websites were using the plugin.
Today, this website stands as a reminder that we need to keep the Internet safe from oppressive legislation. We defeated SOPA, but that victory won’t last long. Consider joining the EFF, ACLU, or other public interest groups.