Reddit Protests SOPA by Shutting Down for 12 Hours Next Wednesday

We recently covered Reddit’s co-founder Alexis Ohanian appearing on Bloomberg TV to protest SOPA and explain how if SOPA existed years ago, Reddit wouldn’t be able to get itself off the ground.  Well, they’re taking it a step further.  Reddit will be completely blacking out the site as Alexis heads to Congress to protest the bill.

The point of the blackout is to raise awareness of the issue and get people pounding the pavement to shut down the SOPA bill, which enables a government body to shut down sites that are hosting illegal, pirated content — even if the company has nothing to do with it and users uploaded the content.  The problems with this type of bill are rampant, and the tech community at large is very critical of the bill.

That said, this is the latest in a long-standing feud between content creators such as the RIAA and Silicon Valley.  Content creators have been asking for years for tech companies to punish violating users in as crippling a method as possible, to teach other potential pirates a lesson, but technology companies have explained that it’s very difficult to ‘police’ their users at all times.

There have been smart intermediate solutions, such as YouTube’s content ID system, which detects if copyright material has been uploaded, and if so, it puts an ad on the video and sends part of the revenue to the content creator themselves.  The actual uploader gets nothing, but also is not penalized.

In any case, this move will certainly cause effects, but Paul Tassi over at Forbes wonders if they’re just preaching to the choir.  What do you think?

Image: imageegami via Shutterstock

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