Wikipedia and Reddit are going DARK this Wednesday! (seriously.)
Protesting SOPA/PIPA legislation.
If you don't know what SOPA/PIPA are, they're bills currently in the Senate that will shut down websites that are accused of having copyright-infringing content on them. What does that mean in practice? Here's an excerpt of a great explanation of the bills and their practical effects (in plain English) from http://veniceforchange.blogspot.com/2012/01/confessions-of-hollywood-professional.html
This section says that anyone who takes voluntary action "based on credible evidence" basically gets full immunity. Think about what that means in practice. If someone sends a service provider a notice claiming infringement on the site under this bill, the first thing every lawyer will tell them is "quick, take voluntary action to cut them off, so you get immunity." Even worse, since this is just about immunity, there are no counter notice rules or anything requiring any process for those cut off to be able to have any redress whatsoever.
Also useful as a quick explanation is a four-minute video from Lifehacker: http://lifehacker.com/5860205/all-about-sopa-the-bill-thats-going-to-cripple-your-internet
Educate yourself, and contact your Congressperson and/or Senator (especially California folk), and urge them not to support SOPA/PIPA. There are links to contact your Congress representatives at the bottom of the VeniceforChange article.
(Heck, even the White House has spoken out against SOPA/PIPA: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2012/01/13/obama-administration-responds-we-people-petitions-sopa-and-online-piracy
. Do your part!)
Please SHARE THIS STATUS and show your friends and family what SOPA/PIPA are so that they can make an informed decision to speak out against SOPA/PIPA too!
(oh, and for what it's worth, I'm definitely donating to Wikipedia for this. https://donate.wikimedia.org