Going Dark to Protest SOPA/PIPA

Tomorrow, from 8 am to 8 pm EST, this site, Schneier on Security, is going on strike to protest SOPA and PIPA. In doing so, I’ll be joining Wikipedia (in English), BoingBoing, WordPress, and many others.

A list of participants, and HTML and JavaScript code for anyone who wants to participate, can be found here.

Posted on January 17, 2012 at 4:10 PM50 Comments


Natanael L January 17, 2012 4:31 PM

Cool. You haven’t really mentioned SOPA/PIPA as far as I’ve seen. Interesting to see that you’ll be joining.

Note that Google also is joining, but they won’t be “blacking out”.

Joey January 17, 2012 4:58 PM

Is that really supposed to be Eastern Daylight? The page you link to says it’s EST, not EDT (and that makes more sense, since it’s January)

Nick P January 17, 2012 5:02 PM

No disrespect intended, but that seems like a dumb idea. It would take a blackout of services critical to congressmen and other big companies to really push action. A bunch of unnecassary sites going down is a minor annoyance or unnoticeable.

On the other hand, people looking for your insight on making potentially costly decisions will not have easy access. Useful discussions will also cease for a day. Shutting down this blog only affects its readers and will likely have no dent on legislation.

(And many companies have already backed off anyway.It seems to be dying out.)

Nick P January 17, 2012 5:04 PM

I forgot to add that it might be a nice publicity stunt for you, increasing your rep as a pundit. Probably the intended effect, eh? 😉

finid January 17, 2012 5:11 PM

This is just going to be as effective as the OWS protests, which means no effect at all.

If your elected politician has no fear of losing his job for voting or even supporting SOPA/PIPA, then every other action is a waste of time.

Go after the real bad guys, go after the guys who make and vote for these stupid rules.

Anon Bruce Poster January 17, 2012 5:19 PM

I approve of your message! I have decided that tomorrow is a good day to go offline, read a book, and contemplate whirled peas.

Petréa Mitchell January 17, 2012 5:23 PM

So anyone with JavaScript switched off is never going to notice?

(Granted, anyone both savvy and paranoid enough to have JavaScript switched off by default probably already knows about SOPA.)

Val S January 17, 2012 5:26 PM

Way to go!

@Nick P: the idea isn’t to punish congressmen by denying them services, it’s to educate people not aware of the issue and to build a mass movement. The congressmen are well aware of what they are doing, they are not the target audience of the blackout. Though, they will be the recipients of the response that will be given by the target audience.

@pessimism January 17, 2012 5:33 PM

Stop Online Piracy Act Markup to Resume in February

Washington, D.C. — House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today said that he expects the Committee to continue its markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act in February.

Chairman Smith: “To enact legislation that protects consumers, businesses and jobs from foreign thieves who steal America’s intellectual property, we will continue to bring together industry representatives and Members to find ways to combat online piracy.

“Due to the Republican and Democratic retreats taking place over the next two weeks, markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act is expected to resume in February.

“I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to send a bipartisan bill to the White House that saves American jobs and protects intellectual property.”

~ http://judiciary.house.gov/news/01172012.html

Markup (legislation)—get it while it’s up.

Not dead. Same can be said for PIPA.

Jeff January 17, 2012 5:37 PM

For what Schneier seems to be about and want to do, his reputation as a pundit is essentially un-enhanceable, so that accusation is a petty smear. (In fact, my opinion is that he risks a smidge by participating, but not much and it wouldn’t matter to someone of his integrity anyway.)

Others have covered how his participation will help, if just a little (combined with lots of other “just-a-little’s”, how very “spirit of the internet-like), so I won’t.

JRR January 17, 2012 6:09 PM

I’m blacking out my two sites as well.
For those thinking about doing this, be sure to read up on how to do it. You want to return error 503, temporarily unavailable, so that your search engine rank doesn’t get all screwed up.

Remember, even if both of these bills die, they’ll just wait until we blink and push the same thing through in the middle of the night sometime. Don’t ever believe that this thing is dead.

JRR January 17, 2012 6:11 PM

@Jim Lillicotch – this and other things that have happened in the US legislature over the last year or more have made it abundantly clear. The US government is completely owned, and hardly even pretend to represent the people anymore. The vote is the only real leverage we have anymore, and that’s not really that hard to buy or steal either.

Adam C. January 17, 2012 6:29 PM

Bravo – support the ideals wholeheartedly and plan on minimizing my online presence tomorrow.

Wish I had my copy of ‘Liars and Outliers’ to dig into…

Clive Robinson January 17, 2012 6:49 PM

@ Bruce,

I wish you and all the others “going dark” tomorrow well and hope that it gets home one way or another to those on the hill, and in other nations planning the same sort of stupidity.

@ Scooter,

Thanks for the link, the idiot at the MPAA has effectivly used his feet for target practice with that silly tirade, so no wonder it came done so quick from their site 🙂

About the only thing the idiot didn’t say was “We own the politicians and they will do what we say or we will cut off their sugar supply”

The simple fact is that contrary to what he says it can be quite easily shown that the current US IP laws and the way they are being used is actually causing a major loss in American Jobs. He does not seem to be able to think sufficiently far ahead to realise that the loss of American jobs due to his and his associations actions will lead to a much reduced market and thus vastly reduced income for the MPAA and it’s members.

But ever since the invention of sheet music these idiots have been way way behind the curve. It does not appear to have gotten through their colective skulls that current up and coming real artists are investigating ways to avoid these IP Stealers who are members of his and similar associations so they can relate directly to their audience quickly and effectivly without incurring the crippling cost of the way behind the curve marketing channels.

Spaceman Spiff January 17, 2012 9:42 PM

You got my support Bruce! We need to fire these boneheads who have become so compromised by special interests.

George January 17, 2012 10:34 PM

The RIAA, MPAA, and media conglomerates bought and paid for SOPA/PIPA. If there weren’t powerful companies like Google opposed to it, the overwhelming majority of Congress would swiftly cast a rubber-stamp vote to deliver what was bought and paid for without anyone uttering a word against it. That’s just what happened when Disney and AOL/Time-Warner bought and paid for a twenty-year copyright extension in 1999. But this time there are moneyed interests opposed to it, who have enough clout to throw a spanner in what would otherwise be a machine well lubricated with campaign donations.

But not to worry. It’s just a temporary setback that will merely increase the price the RIAA, MPAA, and media conglomerates will have to pay for more reliable delivery next time. That’s the way “democracy” works in 21st century America.

Aun Johnsen January 18, 2012 12:29 AM

I think I have mentioned a scenario in one of my blog posts regarding how this kind of laws could be counter productive. At that time there was some talk about outlawing extremism on web sites where for example posting antisemitic comments on articles in worst case could close down complete web services.

In this case, linking to sites such as thepiratebay.org could do the same kind of damage.

[0] Free speech under attack!

John E. Bredehoft January 18, 2012 12:50 AM

Less than two hours into the so-called Wikipedia “blackout,” a number of methods for getting around it have already been documented.

If people really want to get the attention of SOPA and PIPA supporters, do something real like boycotting the NFC and AFC Championships, the Super Bowl, and the Oscars. Blackouts and limited domain transfers are feel-good tactics that won’t affect Congressional votes.

schenierfan January 18, 2012 1:05 AM

Getting around Wikipedia was *by design you can simply turn off javascript for your browsers, or use mobile, either way. But that hardly matters, the point is,this could be a permanent reality if these laws pass.

MarkH January 18, 2012 1:07 AM

Bruce, I appreciate the show of solidarity. I regret that it has come to the point where such measures are needed.

Contrary to some of the commenters above, I believe that the blackouts have a serious chance to make a difference because they will bring this matter more public attention, which can and does affect how laws are made.

Nick P January 18, 2012 1:26 AM

The one blackout that I think has a chance of making real progress is Google’s. That’s because it will be seen by tons of people & the artistic depiction they used is excellent. Their service is still available &the message gets out. Perfectly executed.

(Note: I’m somewhat biased because I’m using Google right now & hence prefer no service-related blackouts. I’m sure Google’s customers have similar feelings.)

socrates January 18, 2012 2:05 AM

SOPA/PIPA just two more nails in the coffin of a once great country. Why do US politicians insist on shooting their own feet? Is it because they are stupid?

Joe January 18, 2012 6:15 AM

Disabling JavaScript in your browser allows you to still use Wikipedia. Client-side controls suck for implementing any kind of user restrictions.

Tamara January 18, 2012 8:14 PM

I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! And all the sites that did an anti SOPA/PIPA black out! Thanks for sticking up for us, for giving us a voice!!!!

I am so proud of you, and so grateful.
We are all in this together, but sometimes it’s nice to see the big powers on our side for a change. You were that for us today!
The Internet, and communication, should always be free and unfettered by political interference.
Thank you,

Daniel January 18, 2012 8:59 PM

@ Nick P.

I actually like Ginsburg but she’s into promoting international law and she swallowed it this time hook line and sinker. She had three decisions today and the other two were good. The copyright decision was crap.

Perseids January 19, 2012 9:15 AM

“””Disabling JavaScript in your browser allows you to still use Wikipedia. Client-side controls suck for implementing any kind of user restrictions.”””

According to their FAQ this is intentional

David January 19, 2012 9:23 AM

Proud of you for blacking out the site to protest SOPA/PIPA! Embarrassed that more big sites didn’t join in…

share in stone January 19, 2012 5:41 PM

Carlin – The Real Owners Of America

“The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they’re an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They’ve got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They’ve got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying ­ lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else.”

“But I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they’re getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago.

“You know what they want? Obedient workers ­ people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork but just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, reduced benefits, the end of overtime and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And, now, they’re coming for your Social Security. They want your fucking retirement money. They want it back, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it all, sooner or later, because they own this fucking place. It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club.”

“This country is finished.”

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