The online war against SOPA is reaching new levels. In the aftermath of the Reddit 'Boycott Go Daddy' campaign, now a number of Internet giants are considering their own moves in the SOPA game.
Wikipedia was the first to consider a blackout of their services, in order to demonstrate what SOPA could potentially do to any website that allowed user-generated content. Now, a number of sites including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon are considering coordinated downtime on their platforms.
Markham Erickson of NetCoalition recently confirmed that the extreme move was "under consideration" by the Internet companies. The director commented:
"This type of thing doesn't happen because companies typically don't want to put their users in that position. The difference is that these bills so fundamentally change the way the Internet works. People need to understand the effect this special-interest legislation will have on those who use the Internet."
The "nuclear option" will cause major Internet service providers to go simultaneously in to the dark in a coordinated effort to show their displeasure at the proposed legislation.
However, a move of these proportions will no doubt have severe consequences. Consumer anger, backlash from online users, lost revenue and perhaps catalyst user boycotts as a reprisal may be on the cards.
Whereas Wikipedia asking its online community what they thought about a blackout yielded some interesting results, it did not get full press attention. A service suspension of Google, however, would no doubt end up blasted across every newspaper in the West within minutes.
I would not be impressed if one morning if I wake to find Google, Twitter and Facebook are denying access to their domains. I'll admit, I would become furious. If this suspension goes ahead, the companies better make sure they explain to the general public why this is happening.
What better way to expose the farcical bill, and ensure that user anger is cajoled in to the right directions?
If it goes ahead, taking Google as an example, I'm all for it. Something I've found as a London-based blogger is that no-one in Britain knows anything about the act whatsoever. They need this.
I'm expecting commentary, as I've witness across the web, stating that service blackouts should only affect the American community. That, in a nutshell, is why 'nuclear' options need to affect every international domain. This legislation, in one country, is enough reason to press the nuclear button.
SOPA is not legislation that will be confined within U.S borders -- so in order to 'spread the word', go ahead. It is time to light the fires of anger that many informed U.S citizens already feel, so members of Congress understand what the SOPA legislation may do to international relationships as well as altering the opinions of the general public.
There is currently no released formal decision on the matter. However, considering the Senate is scheduled to resume debating the bill on January 24, it may be before this date that the internet giants potentially most affected will choose to make a stand.
Press the button. You'll be forgiven for a day's worth of inconvenience if it can achieve some damage limitation in regards to the SOPA bill.
- Google's SOPA press stunt: Can we truly hold them liable?
- SOPA: Could the bill harm entrepreneurship?
- Would a Wikipedia blackout be such a bad thing?
- Have we raised a generation of pirates?