757 Labs A Hackerspace in Hampton Roads, Virginia.


SOPA/PIPA | Why we went dark the way we did

As some of you may have noticed we went dark on January 18th in protest of SOPA and PIPA, along with a large number of websites from across the US, and around the world. There's no need to go into details on why these two bills are bad news, and should never be allowed to see the light of day in any form what so ever. What I think does need some mention is the reason why we went dark the way that we did.

The decision to go dark was made by one person, and one person alone. Our network admin (me). He advised no one that he was going to do this. There was no discussion, no talk about our level of involvement, or even where we, as a collective, stood on this issue. He took this action without any notice because that is just how these bills would work. No notice, no recourse, no time to respond at all. One day you're there, then next you're gone. Poof.

There were comments made by members that this was an inconvenience, and that the method used was a poor choice. They would have preferred that a javascript overlay been used, much in the way that Wikipedia did, so that it would still be possible to get to the information they were trying to access. One person even asked that some way be provided to access a specific piece of information from his user page on the wiki. Our network admin took the site dark in the way that he did to prevent these options from being possible, because without feeling the full force of the reality of these bills he did not feel that the true impact of them would be realized.

Everything is back to normal, and all information is intact, just as it was on January 17th. For now. No matter how you feel about piracy it has to be understood by now that altering the way the internet works is not the answer. Let us all hope that those in congress who were still on the fence about this issue realize what this could mean... or at least are willing to look deeper into the issue now, and come to their own conclusions and not those of the lobbyists.

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  1. Good for you!

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