You probably woke up this morning to realize the Internet is totally screwy.
Is it the online apocalypse? Not so much. Google, Wikipedia, Boing Boing and others have gone dark, along with thousands of others, who are protesting two anti-piracy bills that are up for debate in the U.S. Congress.
It's a debate that's pitted the Web against Washington. And if the goal of these protests was to get people talking, that sure seems to have worked, with every media organization on the planet talking about piracy today.
Many of these sites are using creative techniques to bring attention to the two bills –Β one called SOPA, the other PIPA –Β and making very clear their viewpoint on it.
Before you panic, read our quick-and-dirty guide to these online protests.
So, what are these piracy bills about?
With all of these sites going dark, it is important to know why this topic has become the center of a heated debate.
CNNMoney has a genius explainer on this topic, for those interested in all the gritty details. The gist is this: Media companies are upset that their copyrighted content gets stolen and given away for free by some websites. Two bills aim to crack down on this piracy by restricting access to U.S. websites that potentially could link to this pirated content. Tech companies in Silicon Valley say the bills have unintended consequences that could tamper with the way the Internet functions.
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Kidding! That blackout technique is part of the point these sites are trying to make today as they fullyΒ go dark.