I must say that the Wikipedia blackout decision strikes me odd. However, so much of the internet has activist/advocacy agendas that it's perhaps not surprising.
If it helps put it into perspective, with the new legislation that was *almost* rushed through without public consultation, I could easily close down SimHQ.com in about 24 hours. If the bills pass, then here's the steps for the evil and curious:
Step 1. Post a link from a website whose domain is not registered in the US, i.e. say this one: http://bit.ly/yplNGn
Step 2. I'm shocked that the content of that link will 'completely destroy poor Hollywood', I raise a complaint with SimHQ's owner. (Hello Doug!)
Step 3. After some due time for process (say 15 seconds, as I am *very* worried about the media companies, and its not specified in the bills) I now inform both bit.ly and SimHQ.net/com's ISP & DNS registers that I have a SOPA/PIPA 'Piracy Complaint'. The internet service providers of dyn.com and register.com respectively, so I can contact them immediately too.
I now have four companies compelled by US legislation, who can either risk waiting for a Justice Department letter (which won't come, as my complaint is spurious) or take down the post and/or change the DNS info. The important bits (and you can see why Wikipedia might be concerned on this) are:
- Doug / SimHQ are now legally responsible for enforcing SOPA/PIPA, i.e. remove the posts that *may* contain IP infringement (no Boeing pictures please!). No more disclaimers on users being nice, it's up to Doug to police now.
- ISPs and DNS companies are now legally responsible for enforcing SOPA/PIPA, i.e. removing the complete offending domain from DNS. This is worth repeating - SimHQ.com would be removed
from the Internet's DNS system until my complaint is resolved.
I can see the point of IP protection and how media companies handle piracy in the times we have now, but these proposed laws are/were awful and poorly conceived. If you care about or use any of the sites mentioned then you can see why they compelled to do something *before* they can slowly removed. SimHQ is the very definition of 'user content websites' that this clumsy bill would almost certainly either damage or potentially destroy. At best it's poorly worded and at worst it is an attack on everything that made the internet work in the first place.
I'm surprised more SimHQ'ers haven't expressed some concern, or haven't at least contacted their representatives. One thing to bear in mind is that you won't be reading steps like this from news websites like CNN or Fox, they are the major sponsors of the bill (Turner, News International/Fox etc).
Hopefully the steps today will make some politicians weigh up the lobby money vs re-election, but for all those claiming they love their free-speech - what did you do today about it? Your SimHQ is under threat gentlemen..