In an unprecedented move, leading provider of blogging and content management tools, WordPress, has joined other major digital platforms in voicing its opposition to the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA), currently passing through Congress in the US; claiming that the acts have worrying implications for worldwide online publishing and distribution rights.
In a blog published on the same day (18th January) as other leading information sites such as Wikipedia and Google were also carrying out their own protests against SOPA and PIPA, a statement on behalf of WordPress from one of its staff, Jane Wells, said:
“Today, I’m breaking our no-politics rule: because there’s something going on in US politics that…affects us all”
The statement by Wells went on to ask:
“how would you feel if the web stopped being so free and independent?”
Whilst warning that in the view of WordPress, the SOPA and PIPA acts ‘threaten to do this’.
The proposed Acts are viewed by the film and music industry lobbies as a necessary measure to help stop the unauthorised use of copyrighted material on websites originating outside the US.
WordPress however, is not alone in its opposition to what it sees as the acts’ threat to ‘the democratisation of publishing and the independent web’.
In the US, Google altered its home page to read:
“Tell Congress: Please don’t censor the Web!”
Meanwhile, Wikipedia completely shut itself down for the day in protest at the proposed acts.