SOPA-PIPA Protests Blossom Across the Country

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—Crowd-curated news site Reddit said it would go black for 12 hours beginning at 8:00 am Eastern Time, and Boing Boing has posted a mock 503: Service Unavailable notice.

—Automattic has redacted itself, placing black bars over most of the content on the home page.

Wordnik, the San Francisco startup that maintains a huge database of words and definitions, has chosen a pseudo-Latin word, spiflicate, as its word of the day in protest of PIPA and SOPA. The site defines spiflicate as a verb meaning “to beat severely; counfound; dismay” and offers this usage example: “SOPA and PIPA are set to spiflicate the Internet; but before that happens we hope to spiflicate them!”

—danah boyd, a researcher at Microsoft’s New England Research & Development Center in Cambridge, MA, has blacked out her popular blog Apophenia in protest of SOPA and PIPA, saying the bills would “undermine the very architecture of the Internet, silencing both legitimate and illegitimate voices.”

—According to SOPAStrike, a site created by non-profit Internet freedom group Fight for the Future, hundreds of other sites are also participating in today’s symbolic protests, including the icanhascheezburger network, O’Reilly Media,, Mozilla, PostSecret, Tucows, Tumblr, Vimeo, and Wired.

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Wade Roush is the producer and host of the podcast Soonish and a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @soonishpodcast

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  • Here’s a related FYI: Network security researcher Aryeh Gorestky of San Diego-based ESET suggests that cyber criminals could manipulate search engine results during the SOPA-PIPA website protest, using “black hat SEO” to direct traffic to malicious websites posing as the real deal. I don’t know how likely this is, but I’m curious if anyone agrees. Gorestky’s blog is here: