While this blog is not blacked out today, I support the protest that wikipedia and other prominent sites are engaging in by blacking out their services today. The blackout is in protest against the SOPA initiative, an American bill that threatens the freedom of the internet. The wikipedia site on the SOPA initiative is not itself down today, so I suggest you read it to inform yourself of the situation.
The bills would affect pretty much anyone using the internet, because it puts the responsibility on someone linking to another site to verify that all the content on that site is not in copyright violation. So, if I liked to a webpage, and then copyright infringing content were put up on that webpage, my website could be in jeopardy. Moreover, it puts the burden on the party which a complaint is lodged against to prove that their site is not in violation – and in the meantime their internet provider can be asked to take down the site. This is striking because it is a violation of the basic western principle of innocence until guilt is proven.
Wikipedia has asked non-americans to contact their ministry of foreign affairs and asked them to oppose the SOPA/PIPA legislation. I will be sending DEFAIT an email to this accord. You can also call them at 1-800-267-8376.