This site along, with several thousand others including Wikipedia, WordPress.org, Reddit, Boing Boing and XDA-Developers will be shutting down for 24 hours tomorrow to protest SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act (HR3261) and the Protect IP Act (S.968 ). These two proposed laws were drafted by and for the old guard entertainment industry (Hollywood, record labels and print publishing houses, mainly) and are backed by a two million dollar lobbying effort.
The bills are supposed to combat online piracy and illegal file sharing. However they give big publishers and the government unprecedented powers to censor the Internet and and shutdown entire web sites based on mere claims of infringement. For more on SOPA and its potential to harm the innovation, the economy and Internet security, Copyblogger.com has an excellent concise summary.
If you have a blog or Website, I urge you to join the Stop SOPA Blackout and take your sites down tomorrow Jan 18th. Here’s how.
If you use Blogger:
Go to the Blogger Dashboard and click the “Design” tab. Then click “Edit HTML” and click “Download Full Template” to save a backup of your template that you can restore (by clicking “Upload a template from a file on your hard drive: Upload”) if something goes wrong.
Use your browser’s search button to find “</head>” in the template html and copy the following code directly above </head> :
var a=new Date;if(18==a.getDate()&&0==a.getMonth()&&2012==a.getFullYear())window.location=”http://sopastrike.com/strike”;
The code will automatically activate on Jan. 18th to redirect visitors from your site to sopastrike.com/strike (image, above) which explains some of the issues with SOPA/PIPA and has a form for send a message to your congressperson.
If you have a self-hosted WordPress.org blog there are a number of plugins you can use to black out your site and re-direct visitors to an anti-SOPA action page. I’m using the SOPA Blackout Plugin by Ten-321 Enterprises which is highly configurable and uses SEO-friendly temporary redirects. It generates a page (image, below) on your site’s domain with information about SOPA and PIPA and how to fight their passage. Be sure to get the latest version 1.0.6 of the plugin. Earlier versions had a bug that caused the the redirection to fire at midnight GMT on Jan 18 rather than using your blog’s timezone.
If you use WordPress.com you can follow Pied Type’s instructions to add a text widget containing the code below to your primary sidebar:
<div align=”center” style=”position:fixed;width:100%;height:100%;top:0;right:0;background-color:#000;-moz-opacity:0.8;opacity:.80;filter:alpha(opacity=80);text-align:center;font-size:800%;font-weight:bold;padding-top:300px;”><a style=”color:#fff;” href=”http://americancensorship.org/” target=”_blank”>Stop SOPA</a></div>
That code will place a semi-transparent overlay(image, below) with the words “Stop Sopa” on your site. When visitors click the overlay they will be sent to americancensorship.org, another site with SOPA/PIPA information and action forms.