Research Case Studies: SOPA/PIPA “Blackout” Protest

Google Doodle for January 18, 2012

Today, January 18, is the official SOPA/PIPA “blackout” day — a voluntary protest in which various websites are censoring all or part of their online content in order to express their strong opposition to two pieces of proposed anti-piracy legislation: the Senate’s “Protest IP Act” (PIPA) and the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

Wikipedia on January 18, 2012

Prominent participants in the protest so far include information-finding sites like Wikipedia, Google, and Reddit. However, many more sites have confirmed their participation and support on protest hubs like SOPA STRIKE. FAQs about SOPA, PIPA, and their potential impact on the Internet are likewise available through, Reddit, and Mashable, while defenses of SOPA are available in the form of press releases from the MPAA and on the websites of sponsoring legislators.

Reddit on January 18, 2012

For SOC students and faculty interested in researching SOPA, PIPA, the “blackout,” or the coverage of the online protest, here are some useful links and facts.

SOPA/PIPA Basic Facts:

  • SOPA = “Stop Online Piracy Act,” or H. R. 3261
    • Sponsored by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas)
    • Introduced 10/26/2011
    • Mark-up of SOPA by House Judiciary Committee begins 2/2012
  • PIPA = “PROTECT IP Act of 2011,” or ‘‘Preventing Real OnlineThreats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011’’ or S. 968.
    • Sponsored by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (VT)
    • Introduced 5/12/2011
    • Senate votes on PIPA on January 24, 2012

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