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How is the SOPA Blackout Affecting Austin?

Wikipedia visitors today see nothing but a darkened page opposing the Stop Online Piracy Act.
Photo courtesy Wikipedia
Wikipedia visitors today see nothing but a darkened page opposing the Stop Online Piracy Act.

A wave of coordinated protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the companion PROTECT Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) are “blacking out” popular sites across the Internet.

Wikipedia is the highest-profile site to completely darken their site in protest. Google has “censored” their logo, and created a page urging Congress to “End Piracy, Not Liberty.”

The SOPA strike is being felt in Austin, too, with local sites darkening in solidarity, and Twitter users voicing discontent with Representative Lamar Smith, the Central Texas legislator who introduced SOPA.

In Austin, the local Craigslist page has a blacked out home page. While users can access the site, they’re encouraged to learn about the SOPA fight. The Austin page of popular discussion site Reddit is also blacked out, like the rest of Reddit’s pages. And at least one Austin-based business – the social media fundraising company HelpAttack! – has darkened their landing page as well. (Update: Commenters point out below that and the Slackerwood blog have darkened their pages, and the Austin Chronicle website features a prominent link encouraging visitors to contact their senators.)

Rep. Smith is a trending Twitter topic in Austin, according to Trendsmap – though for reasons he might not like. The District 21 representative is taking a tweet-beating for his support of SOPA. Smith had previously announced his support for removing Domain Name Service (DNS) blocking from the SOPA legislation, which is one of the opponents’ biggest beefs with the proposed legislation, as noted in this letter from Google co-founder Sergey Brin. But as it’s apparent from the breadth of today’s blackout, opponents want SOPA and PIPA killed in their current form, outright.

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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