Wikipedia is leading the US Internet community's protest of proposed SOPA legislation by blacking out its English-language pages for one day but that bold move is being circumvented by Google.
A visitor to Wikipedia site sees a black background landing page explaining its anti-SOPA position, and blocking the requested page. But most people use Google to access Wikipedia, and they are offered a perfect copy of any blacked out Wikipedia page. Google publishes a complete copy of the entire site, which mutes the effect of Wikipedia's protest.
This issue highlights a little known fact that Google has copied nearly the entire web and hosts it on its own servers. Anti-copying legislation would hit Google very hard yet its support for a national blackout day was surprisingly minimal
Google blacked out its own logo, that linked to a single landing page about SOPA but the rest of Google remained unchanged and open for business.
OpenDNS, for example, did blackout its search results using a random algorithm.
David Ulevitch, founder and CEO of OpenDNS wrote about the decision to censor some search results:
"... we’re fully aware it can, and will, create a frustrating experience both for our users, and for owners of websites being censored. But with 30 million+ users we have the equivalent of a megaphone on the Internet. We feel it’s our responsibility to demonstrate the near-random methodology SOPA and PIPA propose to determine those websites contributing to piracy, and also what the Internet would look like if their fate was to be blocked."
Foremski's Take: It's good to see an executive that understands that responsibility and power mix in equal parts otherwise there'll be big problems later.