By John Walker on January 17th, 2012 at 6:08 pm.
From 9am tomorrow morning, Rock, Paper, Shotgun will be blacked out in protest against SOPA and PIPA. The site will be gone, but for a single black page explaining why we’re doing this. And then Thursday morning we’ll be back. If you want to know why SOPA and PIPA are a problem serious enough for us to make a move like this (not a decision that tends to do wonders for your ratings, advertising, etc), read on, and watch the video below.
At RPS we genuinely believe in the astonishing wonder of the internet. An unpredictable, utterly remarkable endeavour of humanity, it has radically changed the world in the 16 or so years that it’s been a part of the average person’s life, and the many years before that when it was going unnoticed. It has challenged everything, shaken entire industries, and created hundreds of thousands of new ones. From every keyboard playing cat, to every regime overthrown by the connectivity it offers, this massive, ludicrous thing is something we all should be fiercely proud and jealous of. It deserves our protection.
SOPA and PIPA seek to destroy all of this, rendering the internet a system controlled by the State and large corporations. The incredible freedom will be taken away, replaced with a system controlled by those with the most money. After a year when the internet has been the foundation of radical changes throughout the world, from those able to network themselves to overthrow their oppressive regimes, to those who have made a mockery of super-injunctions, the incredible means of supporting previously unknown projects through Kickstarter and the like, to the many wonderful pieces of art that have flourished, after that year, and after the year before it, and the one before that, how can anyone sit back and not fight for this precious, precious thing.
That is why we’re going dark for a day. It’s a small thing, but it’s a way of raising awareness. It’ll piss people off when the site’s not working, and maybe some of those people will refuse to come back. I hope not. But you have to break eggs, and we’re not willing to tiptoe around this or pretend it isn’t happening. No, neither Congress nor the Senate will care that RPS is down, but the hundreds of thousands of people who visit RPS every day will. And they can pass that message on. This matters. Here’s why: