On Wednesday, January 18, 2012; many American Internet websites staged a "blackout" to protest the pending Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the United States House of Representatives and the Protect Intellectual Properties Act (PIPA) from the US Senate.
They did this NOT because they supported piracy and the theft of such ideas, but out of fear that the measures in their current forms would hamper the Internet freedoms and privacy that legitimate users now enjoy.
But apparently there were many different ways a website could participate.
The English/American version of Wikipedia went totally offline for the day, replacing the online encyclopedia with a message encouraging visitors to contact their Congressional representatives in regards to the matter.
Google physically blacked out their logo for the day, making the famous icon interactive with a similar message. Otherwise, all their services were still available, including Google Chrome and Blogger.
Other websites simply switched to a black background January 18th, with their own messages informing users of what was going on.
The only major Internet site that did not seem to participate was Facebook. While it is unknown whether or not they were supposed to, there was no sign or word of the event on their website that this e-zine could ever find.
The Free Choice E-zine itself was torn on the issue. Like many others, we are against online piracy and want our intellectual properties protected. But while we also feared just how far the acts might go if made into law, were uncertain at the time how to alter our visual presentations for the event.
Well, we've since figured it out, as evident by the formatting of this article and the editing to our previous post on the subject.
But was all of this for naught?
United States President Barack Obama publicly announced that he would not support SOPA or PIPA in their current forms for the same reason many protested the pending acts: that good intentions would go too far and protect the businesses more than the legitimate, private users.
Work on both measures has now been suspended indefinitely within their respective Congressional chambers, although some feel that is only pending the outcome of the 2012 Presidential election this November.
But it is guaranteed that another blackout is not out of the question if necessary.