Tomorrow, from 8am to 8pm EST, the MAKE sites will go dark, joining all of O’Reilly Media, and many other sites, like Wikipedia, Reddit, Boing Boing, Tucows, Twitpic, and more, in protest over the SOPA and PIPA bills now before the House and Senate. Even Google is joining in. They won’t go dark, but they’ll post a message about the protest and provide links to information about these troubling bills.

This isn’t an action we take lightly. But we believe that SOPA, “Stop Online Piracy Act” (H.R. 3261), and PIPA, “PROTECT IP Act” (S. 968), are potentially poisonous to many of the things that we stand for. Not only has the internet had a hugely positive impact on our economy, our culture, and our ability to disseminate media and information, but it has allowed people from all walks of life and all areas of concern to become publishers, media producers, journalists, educators, doers, makers. We think that legislation like that being proposed would have a chilling effect on all of this. The bills are allegedly designed to combat commercial piracy, but as we’ve seen in previous efforts to fight illegal content, the pirates figure out an end-around and it’s the everyday users (and in this case, pretty much every internet concern besides the big media companies) that would bear the brunt of these overreaching bills. As Tim O’Reilly says in his Radar column today “The solution to piracy must be a market solution, not a government intervention.”

So, we’ll go dark tomorrow and this will hopefully raise people’s awareness of the issue and prompt them to contact their elected officials.

Here’s a good SOPA/PIPA background piece on O’Reilly Radar by Alex Howard.
And here’s the Washington Post’s take on SOPA, apply titled SOPA’s ugly message to the world about America and internet Innovation

After the jump is a video that explains what the main concerns are over this type of legislation.

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy person’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

  • Glen Harness

    Nice. You’re cutting off people who don’t have anything to do with this law. If you really want to protest it, then block IP addresses coming from government owned computers. Punishing your visitors makes as much sense as someone boycotting Target because Walmart is selling something they don’t like. If you don’t want me to visit, then I won’t.

    • Amauriel

      The idea is to raise awareness. I personally know a lot about SOPA/PIPA, but when I posted the video seen here to my Facebook, no one else had heard about it. When I mentioned listening to the hearings at work, none of my co-workers knew about it. If SOPA and PIPA aren’t shot down now, and thoroughly, the U.S. government WILL keep trying to get something like this passed. And when it does, the entire Internet is affected, since so many sites are based in the U.S.

      I, for one, support this choice and any other sites that join them.

    • Matthew C

      Quick, Glen, there’s some kids loitering down the street, and a small business owner who needs unsolicited advice around the corner. We’ll handle things from here.

    • fonz

      The point i to show what might happen if the law became reality so that people will
      get aware of it and tell their politicians what they think about it.

      Politicians might love lobbyist dinners and campaign contributions from big media, but I still think a few 100 million voters pissed off that their Internet doesn’t work
      trumps it

    • greglovestoast

      Glen ~ You are so out of touch. Get a life.

      • Gareth Branwyn

        Please don’t attack/insult people personally. Thanks!

  • wizardpc

    Well since Obama said he won’t sign either bill, and Republicans killed SOPA yesterday, what exactly are you trying to accomplish?

    Might as well protest the Social Security Privatization bills that failed ten years ago while you’re at it

    • AndyL

      The Republicans didn’t kill it. They shelved it and then announced that they would resume work on it in February.

      That’s only next month. It was just a feint to see if they could get these grass roots efforts to declare victory fade away.

  • Codongolev

    To clear things up, I don’t believe SOPA is the one everyone’s worried about now. I think it’s more PIPA, which does similar things and is still “at large.”

    and I think the blackouts are to get EVERYONE who uses the website aware of how seriously detrimental this bill could be, and how seriously it’s being taken (i.e. that they would be willing to get rid of their entire days’ profit just to protest it).

  • Gareth Branwyn

    SOPA has not been killed, just shelved for now. But, yes, the attention now turns to PIPA.

    And, as Codongolev says, the purpose is to raise awareness, get people talking, and to show the seriousness of this to us by taking this action (which will cost us real money).

    • Michael (@aeQQue)

      I understand your reasoning. That said, it sure would be nice to have a work-around for those that are already SOPA’d out with information. We already know how to remove the Wiki block via javascript disable while Goggle merely covered their logo and linked to an infographic.

      At least there is a Woot-off going… See you again at 8:00pm.

  • Halfvast Conspirator (@halfvastcnsprtr)

    This reminds me of the phone company union workers who were demonstrating against the phone company by blocking the entrance/exits to the office park we were all working in. All their antics did was piss off all the other workers in the office park and accomplished nothing for their cause, and in fact created a lot of enemies.

    But if you feel better by taking the day off, go ahead. I’m sure Congress will be swayed by some web sites going dark for the day.

    • Matthew C

      Oh, hey, it’s you. The guy who talks about how protesters are annoying and can’t accomplish anything, even though they generally do accomplish things, and this protest is raising awareness before it’s already happened, and it’s very likely to mark a point where the legislation is canned permanently…

      On another note, I bet those phone company protesters got what they were after too. You see, when you want something, you have to do something about it, instead of just going about your daily routine like a lazy bum.

      • Halfvast Conspirator (@halfvastcnsprtr)

        But why do the protesters (including the union members who blocked and inconvenienced all the other working folk to make a point to their company) have to annoy everyone else in their protests? Who are they to decide that their peeve is more important than my life and pursuits? I really can’t comprehend that sort of thinking.

        As far as these various web sites go, ya get what ya pays for, so in that respect it is no big deal.

      • macegr

        Halfvast Conspirator: the idea is to get people like you (or perhaps, people slightly more civic minded) to pull their head out and look at the big picture for once. People have the choice to remain totally oblivious to things going on around them, but it’s not a good choice and by the time it directly affects them, it’s already too late. Not being aware of or caring what our government is doing? That’s plainly irresponsible behavior as a citizen of a democracy. You’re on civic-duty welfare, essentially…the rest of us have to bear your part of the burden.

      • AndyL

        It’s very much the *point* of a protest to cause a disruption. It’s intended to be an escalation from standard advertising. (Which can get lost in the sea of a zillion other messages.)

  • Matthew C

    Thanks for taking a stand for my rights, raising awareness, and taking a hit. Although, tomorrow will probably be the most productive day I’ve had for 10 years! :D

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  • Greg D.

    In support of your efforts to protect my rights, I have subscribed to your magazine today. Thanks!

    • greglovestoast

      ^ This is what a real American looks like. ^

  • engineerzero

    Thank you.

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  • chrissicat

    Looks to me like as usual a government is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, I am hoping to eventually set up a website to sell my jewellery and it’s complicated enough already, how many people will this put off even trying ?

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  • AndyL

    Did you guys cancel?

  • Joshua Makinen

    keep fighting the good fight



  • hkcolordigital

    keep fighting the good fight!! Support!

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