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How Internet Blackout on 1/18 Will Affect the IDP

Update: Though SOPA appears to be "off the table" for the time being, PIPA is still alive and well, so we will be continuing with the internet boycott as planned.

Dear IDP Community,

As some of you may have heard, several internet sites and internet based communities will be participating in a "blackout" this Wednesday January 18th from 8am - 8pm.     Big name blogs like Reddit and Boing Boing have confirmed participation, and word on the street is that Wikipedia will be doing a "grey out" that day and that Facebook and Google are contemplating the most skillful way for their sites to participate in the action.

Why are all these sites shutting down for the day?  If you haven't heard already, this week will be a big one for raising awareness about SOPA and  PIPA two bills that are currently being discussed in the U.S. Congress.   SOPA, stands for "Stop Online Piracy Act" and PIPA "Protect IP Act".  They were dreamed up by entertainment and copyright holding companies to try to increase their ability to shut down website that hold copyright infringing material.

It doesn't sound too bad, right?   But the problem with SOPA and PIPA is that they would very unskillfully give the right to the U.S. Government to shut down any website that has a copyright claim submitted against it.   It does this not by contacting the website owner, but by doing the digital equivalent of "flipping a switch."  to just shut it down.  This would apply even if your website were a discussion forum and one of your users posted a LINK to a website with infringing material on it.  

So to protest SOPA and PIPA, myself and a few other IDP Staff and Leaders have decided to boycott the internet this Wednesday from 8am-8pm.   The effort is intended to raise awareness around the potentially harmful impacts of this law, by simulating what it might be like if it were to pass.

To be clear, this is a personal decision and not an IDP one, so we won't be "blacking out" the IDP Website.   We will be away from the internet until 8pm that day, but will still be available by phone throughout the day at 917-675-7151.

And as a reminder.   I hope you'll join us in welcoming Lodro Rinzler back to the IDP on Wednesday Night at 7pm!   Lodro is just releasing his book "Buddha Walks into a Bar" which is getting rave reviews.   More info here please join us!

There is a great article about SOPA up on copyblogger.com

Regarding SOPA and PIPA awareness, please participate in the day of action if you feel moved and capable of doing so.

In the spirit of raising awareness,
Patrick Groneman


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ps It's "affect" not

ps It's "affect" not "effect", by the way. :)


Didn't get this through the editor first time 'round, thanks for the grammar check.

I personally think IDP should

I personally think IDP should black out on Wednesday, as well! This is clearly a serious matter, and one which could destroy the Internet as we know it. It's like using a nuclear bomb to catch burglars. I'm planning to black out my blog on Wednesday, and I hope many other sites follow suit.

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