Reddit has announced that it will be staging a twelve hour blackout in protest of SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, with visitors to the crowd-curated site on January 18 presented with a call to arms against the proposed legislation. From 8am to 8pm EST next wednesday, Reddit will be showing a message pointing out how the site could be affected should SOPA be passed into law, along with links to resources and possible ways to take action.
"Instead of the normal glorious, user-curated chaos of reddit, we will be displaying a simple message about how the PIPA/SOPA legislation would shut down sites like reddit, link to resources to learn more, and suggest ways to take action ... We're not taking this action lightly. We wouldn’t do this if we didn’t believe this legislation and the forces behind it were a serious threat to reddit and the Internet as we know it. Blacking out reddit is a hard choice, but we feel focusing on a day of action is the best way we can amplify the voice of the community." Reddit
It's not the first blackout protest that has been staged to show users just what they might find happening to their favorite sites should SOPA pass. Microblogging site tumblr prompted almost 90,000 calls to US Representatives in November, after taking the site offline bar offering a way for concerned users to get in touch with their local elected official.
Subsequently, Google, Facebook, Twitter, PayPal and others have openly mulled the possibility of a synchronized blackout, as the opponents to SOPA grow more concerned that the act could succeed. Earlier today, CES 2012 organizer CEA announced it too opposes SOPA, directing the "nerd army" over to DeclareInnovation.com to find out how they can protest.