by Andrew Crisp
Two websites with users in the tens of millions have plans to take down their pages on Jan. 18 to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, which is currently being debated in Congress. Reddit.com will shut down for 12 hours, with Wikipedia as a possible collaborator on the "nuclear option" of protest.
SOPA could radically change the Internet as we know it. Supporters say the bill will curb online piracy by regulating uploaded content for copyright infringement and generally protect intellectual property. Detractors say it puts too much power in too few hands, limiting free speech online and web business, as well as ultimately not being an effective tool against the piracy that it aims to curb.
Starting at 8 a.m. Eastern Time on Jan. 18, reddit.com, the user-submitted content site, will go dark, directing users who ping the homepage or any of the myriad "sub-reddits" to a splash page protesting SOPA. The page will also feature a live-stream of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing, the subject of which will be Internet security and all things online.
The local Boise-centric sub-reddit hosts more than 700 members who subscribe to the page's content.
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has written about it, suggesting that his site will join the fray.
The question remains: Will others go off the air that day? Markham Erickson of NetCoalition has suggested that Facebook, Google and Twitter are having those talks as well.
Time magazine's Techland has more on the story here.