Many websites are blacked out today to protest proposed U.S. legislation that threatens internet freedom: the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). From personal blogs to Wikipedia, sites all over the web — including this one — are asking you to help stop this dangerous legislation from being passed.

Why? I’ll quote and paraphrase Reddit:

Up to this point, [web sites] have been required to remove specific copyrighted content if presented with a properly filled out DMCA takedown request. The notices are required to indicate exactly what pages the content is on, and to prove that they are indeed the owners of the content. Even then, this process is often abused.

SOPA and PROTECT IP contain no provisions to actually remove copyrighted content, but rather focus on the censorship of links to entire domains.

If the Attorney General served [this site] with an order to remove links to a domain, we would be required to scrub every post and comment on the site containing the domain and censor the links out, even if the specific link contained no infringing content. We would also need to implement a system to automatically censor the domain from any future posts or comments. This places a measurable burden upon the site’s technical infrastructure. It also damages one of the most important tenets of the internet as a whole – free and open discussion about whatever you want.

So go to SOPA Strikeright now, fill out their form, and click the big “Write Congress Now!” button to let Congress know that this legislation should be killed. I did.

Once you’ve done that, continue on to the rest of Hack Bend.