Date: January 18
Remember the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA)? No? You should. The legislation proposed by House Judiciary Committee Chair Representative Lamar S. Smith (R-TX), sought to all the U.S. Department of Justice and copyright holders to take legal action against websites outside of the U.S. that traffic copyrighted material and goods. SOPA would have allowed the DOJ to bar ad networks from advertising on certain websites and prohibit search engines from linking to sites deemed to be illegal.
Naturally, the bill found many, many opponents. And not rinky dink web operations, either. Major, billion-dollar companies objected to SOPA: Google, Yahoo!, eBay, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, AOL, and the Mozilla Corporation all voiced their opposition to the bill. But it was Wikipedia and Reddit, the popular social news site, that really got down for the cause. On January 18, the two sites, along with many others, orchestrated a service blackout. The sites shut down for the day and put up banners explaining why they weren't operating and instructing people to sign petitions against SOPA.
Their silence spoke volumes. On January 20, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Smith put off plans to draft the bill.