Thursday, February 23, 2012

10 SOPA Boycotts that Were Impressive

The hotly contested Stop Online Piracy Act was one of the most controversial issues of late 2011 and early 2012. Lawmakers, entertainers and consumers alike spoke out vociferously against the potentially-dangerous legislation, which was eventually shelved. During the peak of the Stop SOPA craze, there were some very impressive protests and boycotts; here are ten of the best.

  1. Facebook Blackout Bar – As one of the most popular and widely-visited websites in the world, Facebook’s decision to implement a blackout bar that redirected to an awareness-raising website about the dangers of SOPA helped to spread the word quickly, even among users who didn’t consider themselves politically active.
  2. Wikipedia Shutdown – The go-to source for user-contributed information on the web, Wikipedia shut down their entire website during the SOPA blackout day. This dedicated day to shut down or severely limit the functionality was intended to portray the potential internet of the future, in the event of SOPA’s passing.
  3. Creation of Anti-SOPA Smartphone Apps – The Android Market and iPhone App Stores were flooded with anti-SOPA apps. These programs helped users contact local legislators, provided lists of companies that supported the contentious bill in order to help consumers avoid them, and made sharing of censorship-related material a snap.
  4. GoDaddy Boycott – The web hosting company GoDaddy was, before the SOPA craze, mostly known for their racy television ads. While feminist and religious groups have actively spoken out against GoDaddy for their overly-sexualized ads that objectify women, the hosting giant met a tidal wave of opposition upon their announcement that they stood behind SOPA. After a major public outcry, the company recanted their statements and changed their stance; however, the move came too late in the eyes of many users that opted to discontinue their GoDaddy services.
  5. The Call-Your-Lawmakers Movement – There were dozens of emails, messages and websites containing the contact information for the local lawmakers in each state, one of which actually helped callers to practice their speech with a specialist before connecting them to their local legislators.
  6. Google Redaction Campaign – Search-engine powerhouse Google has utilized many different artistic modifications to their iconic logo over the years to celebrate holidays, special dates and other occurrences. During the anti-SOPA blackout, Google opted to redact their logo with a simple black bar symbolizing the government-backed censorship of the SOPA bill.
  7. “I Work For the Internet” Campaign – One of the most powerful anti-SOPA campaigns started as a small one, but quickly snowballed. The “I Work for the Internet” campaign urged those who rely on the internet for their livelihood, such as freelance writers, content generators and web designers, to add their picture to a web page with the words “I Work for the Internet” emblazoned across it.
  8. Reddit Blackout – User-contributed content is Reddit’s bread and butter; it also could have been it’s downfall in a world with SOPA laws. To protest the bill, Reddit followed the Wikipedia lead and completely blacked out their website on “shutdown day.”
  9. Dedicated Websites – As news of the proposed legislation spread, dedicated websites began to pop up across the internet. The almost instantaneous response to SOPA was impressive in and of itself.
  10. The Solidarity of the Web in General – The relative anonymity of the web makes it easy to be contentious or argumentative. A quick glance at the comments on a YouTube video or a cursory visit to a political forum are enough to portray the internet as a vast space of disparate views and arguments. However, users of all affiliations banded together quickly and effectively, setting aside collective differences in order to defend the internet. The simple solidarity of people across the country and even around the world was the singularly most impressive boycott of the anti-SOPA movement.
Taken From Phone TV Internet

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