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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 is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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