Reddit's anti-SOPA "Nuclear" protest is a good start

Reddit's anti-SOPA "Nuclear" protest is a good start

Summary: But, to really make an impact on Congress, other major Web sites must follow Reddit's lead to stop the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP laws from being passed.


Reddit's SOPA Protest Logo

Reddit's SOPA Protest Logo

Reddit, the popular link-sharing and social networking site with over 2 billion page-views and 35 million active users a month, is taking the nuclear option in protest about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT IP draft laws by shutting down on January 18th for 12 hours. During that time, Reddit will suspend its normal operations

"Instead," the Reddit administrators state, "of the normal glorious, user-curated chaos of reddit, we will be displaying a simple message about how the PIPA/SOPA legislation would shut down sites like reddit, link to resources to learn more, and suggest ways to take action. We will showcase the live video stream of the House hearing where Internet entrepreneurs and technical experts (including reddit co-founder Alexis 'kn0thing' Ohanian) will be testifying. We will also spotlight community initiatives like meet-ups to visit Congressional offices, campaigns to contact companies supporting PIPA/SOPA, and other tactics."

The social network isn't, according to Reddit, doing this lightly. "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."

Good for Reddit! I agree completely that SOPA and PIPA are horrible laws with potential to wreck the Internet just so the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and their allies can have a free hand to smash any Website at the barest hint that it might be distributing copyrighted material But, while I applaud Reddit taking a stand, I'm not sure how much good their action will do.

Reddit, especially its SOPA sub-reddit has been a hotbed of organizing resistance to SOPA. If it wasn't for the Internet protests that were organized in part on Reddit, Go Daddy, a prominent Internet domain registry, would still be actively supporting SOPA.

But, since Reddit is already the leading social network against SOPA, their action, while commendable, strikes me as just preaching to the choir. I don't see Reddit's protest having that much of a chance of influencing anyone who's not already aware of SOPA's dangers.

The best thing that I hope will happen from Reddit's protest is that it will inspires sites like Google, Yahoo!,, eBay, Bloomberg, and Wikipedia that reach a broader and largely unaware audience to take similar actions in protest against SOPA. We know, under the umbrella of the NetCoalition, the lobbying group representing leading global Internet and technology companies, that some major Internet companies are considering actively protesting SOPA on their Web sites.

While Facebook opposes SOPA, it doesn't seem inclined to make such a move. Wikipedia, on the other hand, while it hasn't settled on a course of action, is still considering a wide range of possible anti-SOPA protest actions.

If other important Web sites follow up on Reddit's anti-SOPA lead , then more people might wake up to its danger and insist that their Congressional representatives do the right thing and keep their hands off Internet freedom of speech. Still, I want to give a big thumb up for Reddit taking a stand. I hope that other Internet sites will now take up the torch as well.

Reddit SOPA Protest Warrior image by Reddit.

Related Stories:

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

Should Amazon, Google & Wikipedia "nuke" the Web to stop SOPA?

Don't expect Facebook to go dark for SOPA

U.S. 'threatened to blacklist Spain' over SOPA-style law

Go Daddy really and truly opposes SOPA now

Topic: Social Enterprise

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  • Steve, it is sad to see ou promoting crime in your column.

    SOPA and PIPA are laws designed to fight international crime. They wouldn't shut down Reddit or any similar site; that's simply a lie, as anyone can see by actually reading the text of the laws.
    Anne Nonymous
    • RE: Reddit's anti-SOPA 'Nuclear' protest is a good start

      @Anne Nonymous Naive and foolish are those that trust the lawmakers and those that buy the laws.
    • RE: Reddit's anti-SOPA 'Nuclear' protest is a good start

      @Anne Nonymous <br>You seem to be under the naive belief that the people in power (the ones that own congress like the MPAA, RIAA, etc) wont abuse this. It has ALREADY happened, visit <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a> to see where a judge has already done something (that seems to be illegal, since he has no jurisdiction overseas), which is exactly what SOPA is attempting to make legal!

      Please write your congressional representatives and tell them to block this farce of a law. Hopefully there will be a few that havent taken money from the crooks behind this law.
  • RE: Reddit's anti-SOPA 'Nuclear' protest is a good start

    I will cease doing business with any company that performs such a stupid act. What they (and you) don't realize is that the politicians will proudly point out that life went on, nobody was hurt, and nobody [b]NEEDED[/b] the sites. Once they are proven to be unnecessary, they lose all credibility to question the legislation.
    • RE: Reddit's anti-SOPA 'Nuclear' protest is a good start

      @aep528 That's a stupid stance to take, frankly. Know what else nobody needs? Almost everything in our society. If third world countries can get by without it then by golly we don't need them.

      Why not just get rid of the internet? Or cars? Or microwaves? None of those things are needed either.
    • RE: Reddit's anti-SOPA 'Nuclear' protest is a good start

      @aep528 Talk about missing the point. They aren't trying to demonstrate how they're "needed" (and what honestly is, besides food, water and shelter).

      They're doing this to raise awareness among potentially 35 million people, who will visit the site and encounter the information, links and video stream, rather than their usual content.
  • RE: Reddit's anti-SOPA 'Nuclear' protest is a good start

    How childish, which explains the entire ant-SOPA argument. For the most part I cannot find one rational argument against SOPA . Mostly misinformation to utter logical fallacies, my recent favorite is SOPA will shut down facebook in turn with will help Islamic terrorist.
    As for Reddit, it is a fine example how internet generation is childish and immature. I find the shut down protest very childish, liken to a two year old temper tantrum because the child could not have another???s toddlers toy.
    In the end, I see no loss if Reddit goes dark, perhaps users can do something constructive, like producing something original instead of repost links what other produced for their own narcissistic jollies. As for the CEO perhaps he can use the off time to reflect and have lunch with Can I Have A Cheeseburger owner (correct spelling in defiance of the owner / twit) and come up with something original. Better yet Reddit can extend its protest indefinitely and stop spamming my search when I try to search for the original document on Google.
    • RE: Reddit's anti-SOPA 'Nuclear' protest is a good start

      @Richard B Another juvenile man-child. Maybe you should read the article, because they're not doing a "shut down protest". They're not "going dark". Set aside your presumptive arrogant petulance and do a little investigation.

      "Logical fallacies" isn't the term you're looking for either.

      It's amazing that you can't understand how punitive DNS blocking is analogous to holding phone companies responsible for the content of every single phone call made by billions of people. Further, laws by necessity must be as narrow, specific and legitimate as is practical; broad and vague applications quickly lead to abuse and millions of taxpayer money spent on litigation.
      • RE: Reddit's anti-SOPA 'Nuclear' protest is a good start

        @WarmasterHorus I like to think of it as legislating to stop people carrying anything illegal in their cars, then punitively shutting down any town they're caught passing through.
    • RE: Reddit's anti-SOPA 'Nuclear' protest is a good start

      @Richard B I will be the first one to admit that while I want to read the text of the SOPA/PIPA bills, I have not had time to do so. Hence this comment (which is not meant as an ironclad end-all, just my opinion) is based only on what I've heard. As far as I know, the laws are designed to stop piracy and copyright infringement. I'm all for supporting IP ownership. The laws are sound in concept.

      However (this is where things go downhill), the law allows the entities behind it (technically the US Government, but really the MPAA/RIAA) to take down websites and cut funding to organizatios who are suspected of copyright infringement; suspected being the key word there. That means that websites and organizations can be paralyzed without fair trial. Those are near "1984" abilities we are granting our government and the private corporations "cattle-prodding" them forward.

      Now, in a Utopia this would be fine. The government would never abuse its power. But we don't live in a Utopia. <sarcasm>God knows the US government would never abuse it power. It's not like they've done so in the past.</sarcasm> The government, like the MPAA/RIAA, will continue to do what it deems necessary to remain strong and economically stable. The problem is that what the government deems necesary may not always be in line with free speech or freedom in general.

      That is what I believe is scary about SOPA/PIPA. We are giving free rein to censor the internet, which is inarguably the largest source of information in the world. In a sense, we may be handing over the ability to control what we learn/know.

      Once again, I have not yet read the bill itself. This is mostly based on what I've read in articles. If I'm wrong (and I very well may be), feel free to correct me. I have an open mind and am ready to learn.
    • RE: Reddit's anti-SOPA 'Nuclear' protest is a good start

      @Richard B

      Vint Cerf and other Internet creators are anti-SOPA and they are anything but childish.
  • RE: Reddit's anti-SOPA 'Nuclear' protest is a good start

    Irrespective of the merits of the SOPA legislation, if reddit constructs their protest page smartly, the million-or-so users who see it (based roughly on the stated 35 million/month count) would be able to use links presented on the page to contact congress and express their disapproval. Receiving a million anti-SOPA messages in a single 12 hour period would be a fairly significant (and potentially influential) result of reddit's protest.
  • Awful

    We don't charge road builders with crimes if their roads lead to drug houses do we ? That's what SOPA will do. Everyone will be afraid to link to other sites. The government screws up everything it touches. They think they are being noble. The road to hell is always paved with good intentions.

    What's going to happen to search engines like Google ? They have bots crawling the net looking for links. This is a big risk to have links to other sites. That's how the Internet functions !

    Government always has a knack for destroying innovation. They have not had their hands on the Internet but they are scheming for it. We will have censorship. Who is going to decide if a site's content is acceptable for not ? They will shut down a site without even a trial. Sounds all whimsical.

    I can't think of a single company in favor of this except the MPAA and their buddies. They think their sales will go up if this becomes law. I will quit going to movies not that I watch many anyhow. Quite a few editors have spoken out against this. Very bad idea !
  • RE: Reddit's anti-SOPA 'Nuclear' protest is a good start

    I am very pleased to see Reddit taking a stand on this. More Web companies should follow suit. The biggest problem with SOPA is that it is not being discussed in the mainstream media. Why? Because the people who want this law are the people who own the mainstream media. Anything we can do to raise public awareness of this issue has to be a good thing. Right now, the American people hardly know SOPA exists.
  • RE: Reddit's anti-SOPA 'Nuclear' protest is a good start

    You cannot even count the number of individual privacy protections that have been lost over the last 10 years. SOPA institutionalizes and consolidates many of the lost protections. And the parade will continue I am afraid. We are all frogs sitting in slowly boiling water. Most people cannot even conceptualize the dangers inherent in a censored internet. SOPA completely oversteps the intent of protecting IP. I think Reddits form of protest makes sense.
  • Current laws

    There are current laws prohibiting piracy and those should be sufficient to protect MPAA and RIAA from pirates in the US. The proposed bill will not really stop piracy that comes from other countries and it sounds like a broadly written bill that could be used to stop other legal practices used by the public. The problem is that congress critters tend to feel a need to write a bill to show that they are doing their work while they are not able to create a realistic budget or deal with the problems of their constituents.
  • The potential for net information is getting the squeeze

    Yes this is not just about property or intellectual rights. This is the masters again telling the surfs how to surf. When China does anything like it the press screams..when we do it no says a word it seems. Rohn (C)
  • RE: Reddit's anti-SOPA 'Nuclear' protest is a good start

    Maybe some of you SOPA/PIPA defenders might want to try asking some Chinese folks (if you can) what it's like living with an internet that has to pass through a government censor. I suspect you'd change your tune fairly quickly. Remember that the law is not about what is right, it's about what is possible, and under SOPA/PIPA there is a whole host of unintended consequences in the "possible " category.
    • RE: Reddit's anti-SOPA 'Nuclear' protest is a good start

      @rmgangawer I get the feeling the 'anne nomenous' types are bots scanning for Sopa stories and posting.

      You see they dont come back to argue their position. just one quick comment of support and gone.