There’s something just so… satisfying about using Metallica lyrics to title this post.

As you may have heard, there is an Internet Blackout going on right now. Wikipedia’s English site has gone black for the day, HuffPo has covered its usual front page with a giant black square, Reddit has plans to shut its doors for a while, and there are plenty of other sites around the web that are going dark as a protest against the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA).

In a nutshell… Well, I’m going to let this explain it, because I’d probably muck it up:

Got all that?

On my scale of trust levels, internet movements don’t rank all that high. Any time some brush fire gets started online, I’m usually sure that either it’s inflating things out of proportion or outright lying. But this rings much truer than most, and even if it’s not as bad as it’s being made out to be, it’s still very important that we make it crystal clear to Congress and Commerce – both of which I trust about as much as I do the guy who sells discount Viagra out of the trunk of his car [1] – that we do not want our internet fucked with.

Any more than it already has been, of course.

To that end, I’ll be joining the Blackout, thanks to the special settings that WordPress.com has introduced to its blogs. This site – as well as the Labyrinth Library and Year of Stories – will go dark on January 18th at 1 AM, UTC (about four hours from this writing) and return at 1 PM, UTC. It will sport a “Stop Censorship” banner until the vote date, which is January 24th.

In the meantime, if you are a US citizen, you can contact your Senators and Representative and voice your disapproval. If you’re not in the US, you can use the same link (and scroll down a bit) to contact the State Department and protest. After all, what the US does with the internet affects the world, and don’t think for a second that your government wouldn’t give some thought to adopting identical laws if they were successful in the States.

I’ll leave you with a quote that I grabbed from Wil Wheaton:

“Why is it that when Republicans and Democrats need to solve the budget and the deficit, there’s deadlock, but when Hollywood lobbyists pay them $94 million dollars to write legislation, people from both sides of the aisle line up to co-sponsor it?”
–Reddit Founder Alexis Ohanian on CNBC.

I have a feeling that it’s a rhetorical question.

Anyway, see you on the other side.


[1] You bastard!


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