A handful of large websites will go dark on Wednesday to protest an anti-piracy bill that critics say will wreck the Internet as we know it.
Wikipedia, user-submitted news site Reddit, the blog Boing Boing and the Cheezburger network of comedy sites all plan to participate in the blackout. The protest is their response to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) bill, a piece of proposed legislation that is working its way through Congress.
Introduced in the House of Representatives in late October, the bill aims to crack down on copyright infringement by restricting access to sites that fuel it. Its targets include “rogue” overseas sites like torrent hub The Pirate Bay, which essentially operates as a trading ground for illegal downloads of movies and other digital content.
A similar bill called the Protect IP Act was approved by a Senate committee in May and is now pending before the full Senate.
The controversial legislation has turned into an all-out war between Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Media companies have united in favor of it, while tech’s power players are throwing their might into opposing it.