Internet goes on strike (why this blog is black)

The Green Party is blacking out their website for an hour today to protest the Stop Internet Piracy (SOPA) and PROTECT IP (PIPA) Acts currently debated in the US because of its impacts on New Zealanders access to a free and open Internet and online businesses.

You’ll notice Frogblog has a black colour theme today too. I’ve blogged about why Kiwis should be concerned about the proposed laws over at The Standard.

On January 18 the likes of Google, Wikipedia, and The Creative Freedom Foundation will be either blacking out their sites or posting protest messages to their websites as part of an international campaign. The campaign has already had some success with Congress just yesterday deciding to postpone a vote on SOPA which some interpret as ‘indefinite shelving’ but it still remains and PIPA is still live in the Senate.

It’s a big deal. Imagine a small Kiwi online business blocked from Google searches, running online advertising or even processing VISA transactions or even losing their domain name because of a US copyright allegation that they can’t afford to challenge in a US court.

Like Skynet, this law will be easily circumvented by those in the ‘know’ and won’t even solve the problem. As research from Germany shows, increasing availability of digital content demonstrates one can combat internet piracy without huge costs, stifling innovation and infringing upon basic rights.

20 Comments Posted

  1. I’m re-reading the articles on SOPA, because I see a lot of information, that simmilar laws are being hidden in different other laws around the world and in different other institutions. But the scary thing now is, that noone writes and speaks about. Why? No idea…

  2. 🙁 you just wasted precious energy, most likley produced from fossil fuel.

    A black screen will use more energy. This is due to the fact that LCD monitors are uniformly backlit, and power is used to activate the LCD crystals to block out the light, more power is used to block out more light thus a black screen uses more energy.

    A better ploy would have been a frontpage advertising your stance on the issue.

  3. Toad – copyright infringment on a commercial scale is a criminal matter in New Zealand, as well as the USA. We do jail people in New Zealand for copyright violation.

    It’s hard to suggest that an operation involving 75 petabytes of storage is anything other than a commercial operation. So this isn’t just “copyright violation” – in context, this is organised crime, no different than a drug cartel. Hence racketeering.

    The accused, if found guilty, will be in clink for longer than we put typically murderers away, so its hard to say that the scale of the Police approach was inappropriate.

    The clever part of all this is no-one of any importance (and especially not a trial judge) asks the question phrased like “If this bunch of criminals can shift all these millions upon millions of dollars for providing what their customers want, why can’t the music and movie companies do the same thing?”

  4. Anyone not in the USA looking for a way to help fight SOPA/PIPA there are things you can do start by signing the petition to the US state department at the following link:

    I also recommend taking the time to email MFAT either by their form at–forms/enquiry-form.php or my emailing Hon Murray McCully direct at with your concerns the more people that speak out the greater the chance to effect change tell as many people as you can.

  5. The vast majority of people don’t mind paying – they just want immediate access.

    You sure about that Toad? The reason why the average American would go to file sharing sites is because they could get the stuff for free. It is a different story down here though where at least part of the reason is a desire for immediate access.

  6. I’ve just picked up Max Coyle’s post at on the US Justice Department action against

    I might have missed something, but have a look at the facts alleged in the indictment.

    Does this really justify helicopter raids, remands in custody, and racketeering and money-laundering charges? I’m no expert in US copyright law, but surely the NZ Police response could have been somewhat more moderate.

    And shouldn’t alleged copyright breaches be a civil, rather than criminal, matter?

    This stinks of the US Justice Department and the NZ Police as their proxies acting in the interests of big business. If the movie, television and music industries don’t want their copyright infringed, they should put everything on the internet with a download fee as soon as they make it publicly available anywhere.

    The vast majority of people don’t mind paying – they just want immediate access.

  7. They should censored like that. They are better ways to do that rather than imposing laws than can make freedom of the internet become policed.

  8. If you want another even more detailed, but understandable breakdown of SOPA I found this LinkedIn article Why SOPA Is Dangerous, to be pretty good.

    It’s even worse than you might have imagined.

    If a payment provider and ad networks, ie Google, Paypal, etc, recieves a complaint, then they must cut off service to the accussed, within 5 days, unless they recieve a counter notice from the accussed. If the accussed is a foreigner, then by providing a counter notice they effectively agree to submit to U.S. jurisdiction and must state that you have not infridged under penalty of purgery that their site does not fit the definition of an “Internet site…dedicated to theft of U.S. property.” If you read the article you will see it’s almost impossible to not infrindge. And if they do this then if they can be painted as being an infrindger, then they liable to pay the accusors attorney fees. So the accussor effectly gets to sue at no cost to themselves.

    The way it gets to be applied worldwide to all sites, US or not, is why we in New Zealand should be worried. And the US is still, as far as I’m aware the Hub for internet communication.

  9. There are issues for sure – but not in need of draconian Legislation…..I would guess people would be surprised to learn how much Censorship this would lead to….and to my mind, that is what this Legislation seeks to enable – the Copyright thing is already answerable at law….
    Do folks know how much ‘free’ material has been copywrited by the larger Corporations?
    Have a look at Getty’s ownership of every public photograph on the Planet!
    Smoke and Mirrors I say!

    “The press is the hired agent of a monied system, and set up for no other purpose than to tell lies where their interests are involved.” Henry B. Adams

    “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.” – A. J. Liebling

    “The press is the hired agent of a monied system, and set up for no other purpose
    than to tell lies where their interests are involved.” – Henry B. Adams

    “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.” – A. J. Liebling

  10. I too do not support ‘intellectual property’ being stolen & others profitting from it.. BUT I do not want to see the internet being constantly ‘policed’ & arbitrarily controlled by ‘CYBER-COPS’

    “Let freedom (of speech) & anarchy rule the day” !!!


  11. Very clearly this is an issue affecting all of us. From large long standing blogs like this one to the small and growing one I manage. If this passes your use of social media including Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc. is all at risk! Obviously I do not support stealing of content but policing the web at least at this point without clear and definable goals and objectives will do more ruin than good. It will destroy creativity and as many argue end one of the last places of true freedom and democracy. Thank you for sharing. I will be sure to do the same.

  12. What can we as NZ citizens do specifically to make “New Zealand Government express concern through diplomatic channels” i.e. who do I write to?

  13. If SOPA passes, copyright holders would be able to complain to law enforcement officials and get websites shut down. Search engines and other providers would have to block “rogue” sites when ordered to do so by a judge. #notcool

  14. Apathy is the biggest enemy of democracy.. unfortunatley so many are infected with it

    YES if you disagree with the power games played by politicians & others then.. “stand up & be counted !”


  15. They have a lot more to hide in the US. I can access files from here my friends there can’t – this has been true for several years. I might add many sites have disappeared and NZ is by no means a land of beer and skittles when it comes to interference in our own Net services.

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