The anti-SOPA movement has gained momentum with Pirate Bay switching over from torrents to magnet links to promote pirated content from other trackers and sources. Elsewhere, plans for SOPA legislation have sparked intense debates in the tech, media and corporate world.
A heated debate rages in the U.S. Senate and Congress on how to control online piracy and President Barack Obama's disinterest in the SOPA amendment has raised concerns among corporate bigwigs. The issue is heading for a flashpoint with the likes of Wikipedia and Reddit pioneering the anti-SOPA mass-movement with a proposed blackout on Wednesday, January 18.
Amid the escalating tension and mounting pressure from SOPA and PIPA, a Web security startup CloudFlare has thrown its weight behind the anti-SOPA movement by releasing a 'Stop Censorship' app. The app can enable website and IP blocks with custom modifications according to the users' choice.
"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 TechCrunch. He said: "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 has reportedly tested the app over the weekend to ensure it does not affect the user site page-ranking. He also disclosed plans to keep the app available to the public for at least a month or until the SOPA threat is over.
"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," said Prince addressing Alexia Tsotsis at Techcrunch.
Elsewhere, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has criticised Wikipedia's blackout plans for Wednesday as both "foolish" and "silly". The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, has been a big-time critic of SOPA, calling it "the worst internet legislation I have ever seen."
Even before the decision to black out access to Wikipedia in protest against SOPA was taken, Wales had tweeted: "Student warning! Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday! #sopa".
Meanwhile, Radar correspondent Alex Howard had tweeted Costolo, Google's Eric Schmidt and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, whether they would have the guts to follow Wikipedia's protest act.
Bang came the reply from Costolo: "That's just silly. Closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish."
Sharp differences of opinion over SOPA seem to have heightened tensions among major tech bigwigs.
History is on the side of the protesters as past attempts at internet regulation and censorship threats from Hollywood as well as the music industry have been thwarted.
President Obama's stance in favour of the anti-SOPA community comes in the form of his disinterest in passing the SOPA legislation in its current form. Although anti-SOPA players have heaved a sigh of relief, they still face the lingering threat of Protect IP Act which is open for vote on January 24.