THE CAMPAIGN to black out the internet today is being supported by Google.
The firm has always been in opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the US Congress but has not announced any plans to black out its web site as part of the campaign to show what the internet will be like if the bills are passed.
While web sites like Reddit and Wikipedia have announced that they will go dark today Google has not joined them. However it has placed a black rectangle over its logo and added a link to its search page that when clicked takes users to protest information.
"Tell Congress: Please don't censor the web!" says a single line that takes users to a web page that says, "End piracy, not liberty."
"Two bills before Congress, known as the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, would censor the Web and impose harmful regulations on American business. Millions of Internet users and entrepreneurs already oppose SOPA and PIPA," says the information there.
"The Senate will begin voting on January 24th. Please let them know how you feel. Sign this petition urging Congress to vote NO on PIPA and SOPA before it is too late."
David Drummond, Google's SVP of corporate development and chief legal officer said in a blog post that the firm joined the cause because it is so important, and because the acts, as they stand, will never stop 'piracy'.
"Because we think there's a good way forward that doesn't cause collateral damage to the web, we're joining Wikipedia, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, Mozilla and other Internet companies in speaking out against SOPA and PIPA," he wrote.
We asked the people behind the Sopa Strike website what they thought about the absence of the big web outfits - Facebook, Youtube, Flickr and Twitter - and their non participation, and late last night they were hopeful for additional support.
"We'll have to see if any of these sites are going out tomorrow, especially with Google's announcement on their participation," said a spokesperson. "This is a fundamental struggle mostly being waged by internet users everywhere, we'd love to have the big sites join us and support the groundswell."
More and more web sites have joined the protest, and groups like Anonymous keep encouraging others to join. "It doesn't matter if your site is big or small. What matters is to make a stand against unjust laws like #SOPA & #PIPA (and many more)!" said AnonymousIRC in a tweet. "#SOPABlackout - The internet should have expected us," added Youranonnews.
Web freedom fighter the Open Rights Group announced its support last night and today its web site is given over to a message about the bills. And as promised Wikipedia has also gone dark.
There visitors to the English version of Wikipedia see this message. "For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia." µ