In response to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) pending in Congress, several online resources have decided to make their resources unavailable for a 24 hour period. Wikipedia, Google, Mozilla, Reddit and others have either literally gone black today or have been converted into protest pages decrying censorship and urging consumers to contact their representatives to express opposition to the pending legislation. The protest focuses around concerns that both SOPA and PIPA contain overly broad mechanisms for the enforcement of copyright and will have the effect of stifling free expression on the Internet. The step of blacking out content on the Internet is unprecedented and surely deserving of attention. To the extent that the general public was unaware of SOPA and PIPA before, the protest will unquestionably have the effect of raising awareness generally. But will it have an effect on Congress? We'll see.
For more information about SOPA and PIPA, click here.