Pioneering and wildly popular Los Angeles-based blog Boing Boing will take down all content temporarily on Wednesday, Jan. 18 to protest the proposed Protect IP Act and Stop Online Piracy Act pending in Congress. The blog will join Reddit and other sites that curate the web in going dark for the day. From site co-founder Cory Doctorow's post this afternoon:
Boing Boing could never co-exist with a SOPA world: we could not ever link to another website unless we were sure that no links to anything that infringes copyright appeared on that site. So in order to link to a URL on LiveJournal or WordPress or Twitter or Blogspot, we'd have to first confirm that no one had ever made an infringing link, anywhere on that site. Making one link would require checking millions (even tens of millions) of pages, just to be sure that we weren't in some way impinging on the ability of five Hollywood studios, four multinational record labels, and six global publishers to maximize their profits.
If we failed to take this precaution, our finances could be frozen, our ad broker forced to pull ads from our site, and depending on which version of the bill goes to the vote, our domains confiscated, and, because our server is in Canada, our IP address would be added to a US-wide blacklist that every ISP in the country would be required to censor.
This is the part of the post where I'm supposed to say something reasonable like, "Everyone agrees that piracy is wrong, but this is the wrong way to fight it."
But you know what? Screw that.
If Doctorow's description of SOPA is correct, the law's enactment would mean LA Observed could not link to his post — or anything else at Boing Boing, the Los Angeles Times or most of the hundreds of other websites that we now read.