Internet Blackout Day

The day some websites blacked out

On January 18 2012, a series of protests occurred against two proposed laws in the United States Congress, namely the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). These followed smaller protests in late 2011. which were based on concerns that the bills, intended to provide more robust responses to copyright infringement (piracy) arising outside the United States, contained measures that could cause great harm to online freedom of speech, websites, and internet communities. Protesters also argued that there were insufficient safeguards in place to protect sites based upon user-generated content.

A formal protest developed after some websites, including Reddit and the English Wikipedia’s community of editors, considered temporarily closing their content and redirecting users to a message opposing the proposed legislation. Others, such as Google, Mozilla, and Flickr, soon featured protests against the acts. Some shut completely, while others kept some or all of their content accessible.

A total of over 115,000 websites and tens of millions of individuals joined the internet protest. In addition to the online protests, there were simultaneous physical demonstrations in several cities including New York, San Francisco and Seattle. A seperate mass boycott of then-supporter Go Daddy domain company was also actioned. Protests were carried out worldwide.

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