Whatever position you may take on SOPA, or on whether or not sites should black out against SOPA (Yes it has come to this), the issue has reached a boiling point today with sites like Wikipedia and Reddit pledging to blackout on Wednesday in order to further raise awareness of the measure’s pitfalls.
Because SOPA and PIPA threaten the existence of sites that link to copyright infringing content (like Twitter, Wikipedia, Facebook and every other site on the Internet) the bills — which are currently stalled in Congress — have sparked a massive online backlash.
In addition to Reddit, Wikipedia and Icanhazcheezburger, Web security startup and TechCrunch Disrupt runner up CloudFlare has thrown its large hat into the anti-SOPA ring, with the “CloudFlare Stop Censorship” app — which essentially solves investor Fred Wilson’s problem of not knowing exactly how to black out. As of 4pm PST, anyone who uses CloudFlare can download the app with one click from the CloudFlare App Marketplace (and those who don’t can grab the code from Github here).
“We thought it was an effective way to reach a mass audience and raise awareness about the dangers of a law like SOPA/PIPA,” CloudFlare founder Matthew Prince told me, “We see more than 25 billion page views per month for more than 400 million unique visitors. To give you some sense, that’s more page views than Amazon.com, Twitter, Wikipedia, Zynga, and AOL — combined. 400 million uniques is about 25% of the Internet’s entire population.”
Prince spent most of the weekend making sure that everything was in working order and that use of the app wouldn’t affect site search ranking.
Prince plans to keep the app available for the next month or so until the threat of SOPA has passed, he tells me, “I’m a recovering lawyer and still teach Internet & Technology law, so this is a subject I’ve been following closely and understand the real risks of. I’m pretty excited we’re helping make it easy for sites that want to participate in Wednesday’s blackout to do so.”