Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Art of the SOPA Blackout

I’m home sick from work today, and as is my home-sick routine, I spent some of this morning watching the Today Show in bed. I don’t know why I do it—it’s a terrible show, but it’s a tradition. And a dependable one: I always know it will be there, Matt Lauer turning the organ crank while his castmates grind out center-right headlines and neutered advertorial. It’s awful, but I can’t look away.

Today, the crew spoke with Marissa Mayer, Google’s VP of Product Development, about today’s “Google Doodle” (a black censorship bar across the usual Google logo) in protest of SOPA. Lauer & Co. gave her about five seconds to discuss Google’s opposition to the legislation before saying that the bill was supported by NBC’s parent company, Comcast, and moving on to talking about the Google Doodles in a more general, apolitical fashion.

Google is not alone in its protest—many large sites today have either altered their homepages or even suspended activities to illustrate their stances on the bill. As much as I personally detest SOPA (that’s the Stop Online Piracy Act, in case you haven't heard, and you can read some great pieces about it at Kotaku, Gamasutra, Wired, and Unwinnable), it just doesn't make much sense to take Gamer Melodico dark—it'd be too difficult to tell the difference!

Instead, let’s take a minute to reflect on the blacked-out pages themselves, and ponder how a closed Internet would change the way we communicate in the digital age.

Google:
Wired:
Firefox:
Boing Boing:
Wikipedia:
Reddit:
Gamasutra (whose homepage links to the article mentioned above):
Imgur:
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