Reddit will enact 'nuclear option' to protest SOPA, PIPA

Reddit will enact 'nuclear option' to protest SOPA, PIPA

Summary: Reddit, with over 2 billion pageviews and 35 million active users a month, is to shutter its doors on January 18th for 12 hours in protest of the SOPA and PROTECT IP draft laws.

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Reddit announced today it is to shutter its online doors for 12 hours in protest of legislation that will threaten the very foundations of the web.

The news-sharing site is without doubt one the strongest Internet communities the web has ever seen. It is also one of the strongest collective oppositions to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and PROTECT IP Act (PIPA).

Its users have spearheaded an online war against SOPA from its initial conception, and have campaigned vehemently against the bill now being debated in Congress.

Its users helped spur on nearly 90,000 phone calls to U.S. Representatives through microblogging site Tumblr, and orchestrated a crowdsourced boycott of then SOPA-supporting domain name registrar GoDaddy. Reddit users even forced at least one Congressman to change his stance on the bill.

But Reddit has seemingly one last trick up its sleeve: a 'strike' in form of an entire site blackout.

From 8am to 8pm U.S. Eastern Time on January 18th, one of the most popular sites on the web will suspend its operations, and replace its content with a video stream of a congressional hearing of the bill. Reddit's co-founder Alexis Ohanian will also be testifying.

Others have considered a synchronised blackout, from Google to PayPal, Twitter and Wikipedia, in a bid to replicate in the effect SOPA could have on the web and its users. The so-called 'nuclear option' would strike at some of the web's highest traffic websites, with the sites effectively shutting down for the day.

"We're not taking this lightly", the administrators wrote in a Reddit blog post earlier today.

"We wouldn’t do this if we didn’t believe this legislation and the forces behind it were a serious threat to Reddit and the Internet as we know it. Blacking out Reddit is a hard choice, but we feel focusing on a day of action is the best way we can amplify the voice of the community".

While it is the website owners and administrators who have taken the decision to close the site, it is clear from continued 'Redditor' user support that the 'nuclear option' is all but necessary to take one final stand against the freedom-infringing draft legislation.

With 35 million active users and 2 billion pageviews served in December 2011, the vast population of the site nevertheless serves as a reminder that U.S. legislators are not listening to the direct pleas of its electorate.

SOPA and PIPA are two of the most controversial pieces of legislation since the Patriot Act in 2001.

PIPA will force U.S. web providers into blocking access to 'copyright infringing' websites and seek legal action against other sites that link to such content. But SOPA is far broader, and will strike at the heart of the Internet itself by blocking swathes of domain names and IP addresses at ISP-level, as sister site CNET explained in a detailed article.

Image source: Reddit.

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Topic: Social Enterprise

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21 comments
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  • Let reddit shutter its site for 90 days and then maybe I'll think

    they're doing something more than a publicity stunt. Oh. Wait. They won't. That would actually cut into their revenue stream. Not to mention make them irrelevant as people found other sites to replace them.
    baggins_z
    • RE: Reddit will enact 'nuclear option' to protest SOPA, PIPA

      @baggins_z
      So doing nothing is better? 'Publicity stunt'? More like an awareness stunt.
      A lot of people who never heard of these bills (or don't understand how bad they are) will have a reason to take another look.

      Oh wait, like most people who don't think, you will simply accept the status quo and deride as useless any attempt to point out how destructive it is.
      mdemuth
      • I didn't say do nothing.

        But I do find it interesting that you don't have any problem whatsoever with business interfering in government in this case .
        baggins_z
    • IP is a facility made ...

      @baggins_z,

      ... possible by the will of the people, through their elected representatives. If the people would like to curtail IP protection through the law, they would be perfectly within their rights. If the people would like to scrap IP protection altogether, they would also be perfectly within their rights. It is from the people that you are given the power to form industries and conduct commerce around IP. It would be nice if you showed a little respect to the people.
      P. Douglas
      • RE: Reddit will enact 'nuclear option' to protest SOPA, PIPA

        @P. Douglas - What you say would make sense, if it were true. But Lamar Smith wish is *not* the "will of the people" and actually contrary to what many in his district (Austin TX) want to see happen. His actions will directly hit a lot of hi-tech and internet companies that are his constituents. And he has plainly said "I don't care what the industry experts think." The reason? He's in a safe district and can accept outside money from Hollywood without risking his seat in Congress.

        The only way he would ever be voted out of office is if he announced he were really a closet transsexual and had an abortion. Taking millions to do the bidding of foreign media companies (Sony, BMG, Vivendi) doesn't even cause a blip on the radar.
        terry flores
  • ZDNet should go dark too

    It were better lost for a day than gone forever.
    symbolset
    • RE: Reddit will enact 'nuclear option' to protest SOPA, PIPA

      @symbolset Funny you should mention that...
      zwhittaker
    • RE: Reddit will enact 'nuclear option' to protest SOPA, PIPA

      @symbolset
      Isn't zdnet owned by CBS? and CBS is pro SOPA right? Not going to happen.
      Jean-Pierre-
      • RE: Reddit will enact 'nuclear option' to protest SOPA, PIPA

        @Jean-Pierre- You're right. ZDNet is owned by CBS Interactive (a division of CBS Corp). Having said that, many of us are not CBS employees, and vehemently disagree with these draft laws.
        zwhittaker
  • There could be a bright side, just not for the USA ...

    This could spawn a change in the internet structure as a whole, with new methods of addressing, searching and hyperlinking. Unfortunately these innovations will come from outside the US, since any of them could be considered criminal as SOPA makes it illegal to "knowingly and willfully provides or offers to provide a product or service designed or marketed by such entity...for the circumvention or bypassing" of a SOPA blockade.
    terry flores
    • Good point

      @terry flores
      If we end up with a censored internet a whole lot of content is going to get re-routed through services circumventing the blockade.

      If it happens (which I don't think it will), that would be something to monetize.
      Schoolboy Bob
  • What about personal action on January 18?

    What if a few million internet users refused to use this marvelous network we have on the 18th of January? No email, no web browsing, no streaming media, basically call a halt to all use of the internet for 12 or 24 hours. Would that get the attention of this dysfunctional bunch of bozos we have in Congress?

    It's said that this is the best government money can buy. I believe that's always been true to some degree, but lately, it's just so [b]obvious[/b]... This mass personal action would involve no money - the loss of income - and maybe would have some impact. What does the 'net think about that?
    Den2010
    • RE: Reddit will enact 'nuclear option' to protest SOPA, PIPA

      @Den2010
      A boycott of the bozo organizations behind it for a day or two would be better. That would mean turning off those media, not going to movies, etc.
      Schoolboy Bob
  • RE: Reddit will enact 'nuclear option' to protest SOPA, PIPA

    Now what am I supposed to do at work all day?? WORK?
    Pffft...
    jmwells21
  • RE: Reddit will enact 'nuclear option' to protest SOPA, PIPA

    Now what am I supposed to do at work all day?? WORK?
    Pffft...
    jmwells21
  • International opposition

    SOPA's going to be even more fun than the EU/US banana wars! ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/1999/mar/05/eu.wto3 ).

    It will give other countries the perfect moral position to selectively block other countries' sites' access to their markets.

    I'm predicting that within 10 years, non-US websites will need to apply to the US Department of Commerce for a licence to 'import' data to the US (the new term to be used when a US citizen connects to a non-US website).

    The licences will need to be issued in person in paper form in triplicate from the local US embassy, but only after a full body scan and search by a rubber-gloved TSA official.
    peter.bennett
  • I love your Braveheart illustration!

    NT
    goingbust
  • No loss of revenue

    Not when you notify everyone ahead of time for how long, why, and what they can do about it.
    People who say it costs to much and won't matter anyway are the reason why the government gets away with tyranny. They are the enemies of freedom, being accomplices to the tyrants.
    Dr_Zinj
  • We now live under one of the most oppressive governments in the world.

    They restrict our rights further and further by using fear to manipulate the sheep inhabiting this land. They censor, monitor, and illegally imprison without trials. The only difference between our government doing these things and China or Cuba is that our government lies better. They are masters of spin and manipulation. After all, they are taking away all of our rights so they can protect us from all those terrorists lurking in the dark, right?
    BillDem
  • RE: Reddit will enact 'nuclear option' to protest SOPA, PIPA

    Refusing to use the internet won't have an impact on the mindless, "Borg," that is trying to shove SOPA and PIPA down the collective throats.

    Instead, there should be a boycott of content from the big info-tainment sites. Don't go to Sony, don't stream CNN, stay at home instead of going to a movie, go find a local band rather than download another me-too sounding CD. Minimize anything and everything you can do to NOT put money into the pockets of the purveyors of this crap.

    Wishful thinking...
    donaldjl@...