I took my blog down on January 18th, between the hours of 8am and whenever I remembered to turn it back on. This was part of an American Internet-wide response to two bills pending in the House: the Stop Internet Privacy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). My low-weight self joined heavyweights like Google, Mozilla and Wikipedia in protesting these two bills by shutting down our sites for a day and linking to information about the pending bills.
In a nutshell, these bills threaten the free and open World Wide Web that we've all come to love and post copyrighted material within. I'm not anti-copyright, anti-artist, or pro-piracy. I study information science as my discipline and deal with its workings daily in my job. Copyright serves an important purpose and must be protected, reasonably. Unmitigated enforcement by corporations, not governmental agencies, police departments or regulatory bodies, but profit-motivated and massive amounts of copyright holding corporations themselves, serves no purpose beyond increased revenues by those very corporations.
In fact, these bills, should they become law, would not address pirated content, as the content would still exist. It only blocks access to that content, which is effectively censorship.
Here are some links to further information about the bills and action you can take:
http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-57329001-281/how-sopa-would-affect-you-faq/ - Comprehensive FAQ with tons of nuts and bolts information about the acts.
http://theoatmeal.com/sopa - Hopefully this comic stays up for a while. Pure brilliance, as The Oatmeal is known to provide.
http://www.zoowithroy.com/2011/12/post-about-sopa-by-ryan.html - A really great site that puts it in very simple terms that nearly everyone can identify with.
http://sopastrike.com/strike/ - This is the site that I linked to during the outage of Albany: The Pedestrian Perspective (A:PP [if nothing else came out of these bills, I got a sweet abbreviation for this blog]). Information about the issues, a petition of protest, links to the numerous websites that went dark today and information on how to black out your site on January 18th, which is now totally irrelevant, as the protest is over.
https://www.google.com/landing/takeaction/ - The Google petition site.
http://fightforthefuture.org/pipa/ - A video about the situation. Pause for a few minutes if you're watching before at least Jan. 22nd, since there's quite a bit of traffic.
Updated with additional links:
http://blog.timesunion.com/rogergreen/the-best-explanation-of-why-the-internet-piracy-bills-are-bad-for-you/2624/ - Roger Green from the Times Union Blogs in his post: The Best Explanation of Why These Internet Piracy Bills are Bad for Us.
http://www.salon.com/2012/01/19/jon_stewart_takes_on_sopa/ - John Stewart demonstrating that the members of Congress who gave the go-ahead for the bills have no idea how the Internet works.
More actual Pedestrian Perspective posts will be up soon.