Many popular websites–Wikipedia, Reddit and Imgur to name a few–blacked out their websites yesterday as part of a protest movement against the Stop Online Piracy Act, commonly referred to as SOPA, and the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, also known as PROTECT IP or PIPA. These bills are currently in Congress, and many in the tech community feel they amount to censorship of the Internet.
The Stanford Center for Internet Studies (CIS), a division of Stanford Law School’s Law, Science and Technology Program, went black to show solidarity with the other websites participating in the Jan. 18 shutdown. Stanford’s official Twitter account (@Stanford) twice tweeted about action taken by the CIS, and the official CIS Twitter account (@StanfordCIS) has been tweeting about opposition to SOPA and PIPA since November.
Google also protested the acts by blacking out its logo on the front page, and the company claims to have garnered 4.5 million signatures against the two acts. A petition on Whitehouse.gov has more than 100,000 signatures, and another on a popular activist site Avaaz has over 1.5 million signatures.
The Daily previously reported on a conference held by CIS earlier this month about SOPA and PIPA, which allowed many tech innovators and legal scholars to voice their concerns over the legislation.