The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Major websites black out in protest of SOPA

Alex Zank

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Anyone trying to access the English version of Wikipedia on Wednesday, Jan. 18 saw something a little unusual: Wikipedia was blacked out for a full day, as well as countless other websites. This was a reaction to the SOPA and PIPA bills in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate.

SOPA and PIPA, also known as the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act, were bills introduced in the House and Senate with both intending to end the issue of online piracy. Websites like Wikipedia and Google, however, claim that these bills would make it incredibly difficult to keep their sites running.

According to junior and LTS Student Manager for classroom support Kristine Rivall, SOPA and PIPA would begin to allow the government to essentially censor websites that have violated any copyright laws.

“I think (SOPA) would stifle a lot of innovations on the Internet,” Rivall said.

According to Wikipedia, over 162 million users came to use the site only to discover the black out in protest of the two bills. Wikipedia also instructed users to contact their representatives and speak out against these bills.

Rivall said something needs to be done about Internet piracy, but this was not the correct way to handle it and the bills would have a lot of unforeseen consequences.

Freshman Joe Leavitt said he tried accessing a website on that day, and it was completely inaccessible. Leavitt said that SOPA, if made into law, would do more harm than good.

“If (the Internet) is not broken, don’t fix it,” said Leavitt.

Freshman Matthew Knutson said he uses websites like Wikipedia on occasion and expressed concerns for any significant changes these sites may have to make as a result of a bill like SOPA.

“I would be pretty affected (by any big changes to Wikipedia) if it changed a lot,” said Knutson, who added that he uses the website often as a starting point for any significant research.

Reacting to the blackouts occurring on that day, many people chose social media as a means to either vent frustration over their inability to use their favorite cites or advocate pro- and anti-SOPA stances themselves.

A National Post online article published on Jan. 18 reported that “thousands of teenagers and college students” flocked to Twitter to express their frustration with the blackouts.

Leavitt said he saw several friends posting information about SOPA and PIPA on Facebook as well as a Facebook poll.

Rivall said she forwarded a petition against SOPA from the website Change.org to other websites such as Reddit and Facebook in hopes of getting other internet users to sign.

SOPA, with rare bipartisan support, was expected to be voted on without a problem before the online blackouts and social media attention. Then supported dwindled as a result of the intense backlash.

Regardless of the initial cooperative support in Congress, Rivall said officials were working on the bills for the wrong reasons.

“When I was researching the bill … I didn’t know if I agreed with the benefits of the bill,” she said. “I didn’t think they (Congress) were looking out for the best interests of the people.”

Print Friendly

Leave a Comment

The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Major websites black out in protest of SOPA

    Student Life

    ‘Power of AND’ exemplified through student’s internship at Planned Parenthood

  • Major websites black out in protest of SOPA

    News

    An Uber new way for students to get a Lyft in Eau Claire

  • Major websites black out in protest of SOPA

    News

    Renovations for Haas and Governors Hall postponed

  • Major websites black out in protest of SOPA

    News

    Familiar Faces: The student behind the UW-Eau Claire Snapchat account

  • Major websites black out in protest of SOPA

    News

    Syrian Interfaith speaker reiterates importance of faith in the face of Syrian crisis

  • Major websites black out in protest of SOPA

    News

    UW-Eau Claire’s Student Labor Coalition rallies for International Women’s Day

  • Major websites black out in protest of SOPA

    Student Life

    Ice in his blood

  • Major websites black out in protest of SOPA

    News

    Blugold Radio will relocate to an updated studio in the coming months

  • Major websites black out in protest of SOPA

    News

    Student Senate passes resolution in support of transgender students

  • Major websites black out in protest of SOPA

    Currents

    E.C. Beats

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.
Major websites black out in protest of SOPA