Minecraft has become the latest site pledging to go dark for 24 hours on January 18th in protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) & Protect IP Act (PIPA) currently making their way through the US legislature. Notch tweeted the following message a few hours ago:
Decided. We'll silently take down http://minecraft.net and http://mojang.com on the 18th in protest of SOPA.
A number of sites are planning to shut down in order to protest the new law, which is supposedly designed to thwart copyright violations and pirating. Similar hairbrained schemes crop up now and then and need to be smacked back down with great force, Whack-a-Mole-style.
I have little confidence in our government's ability to do almost anything right that doesn't involve really cool weapons, and the idea of opening the technological infrastructure of the entire internet to their meddling is sheer madness. Standford Law Review has a good summary of the problems with the law, and the Wiki entry also fills in some details. SOPA/PIPA is yet another bone thrown to the toxic mix of trial lawyers, lobbyists, and media conglomerates, and will only serve to cripple the continued growth of the internet and stifle free speech.