With the start of the SOPA blackout on many major sites just hours away, a number of additional companies have now joined major sites like Reddit, Google and Wikipedia that had announced their participation in the the blackouts earlier this week. Among the stragglers are Mozilla, which had played a major role in organizing the oposition to SOPA, but hadn't announced its actual blackout plans until tonight. Other companies that just announced their plans today are Ask, Urbanspoon and Citysearch, which will all black out parts of their services on Wednesday. Microsoft has also expressed its support for the protest, but doesn't have any plans for shutting down even a part of its services (Microsoft's statement: "Hundreds of millions of customers rely on our services every day so we don’t plan to shut those down to express our view.”).
Update: The original article failed to note that Mozilla, of course, has been instrumental in getting these protests of the ground. Until now, though, it wasn't clear what form Mozilla's own protests would take on Wednesday. The story has been updates to reflect this.
Mozilla was among the last to announce its plans for the blackout, with a blog post that went up at midnight Eastern tonight. Starting at 8am Eastern on Wednesday, Mozilla plans to black out the default start page in Firefox and will also redirect "key Mozilla websites to a special action page."
The organization notes that it won't "effect" (sic!) people's experience with Firefox," but that it hopes to raise awareness for the protest by highlighting it in-product. In addition, Mozilla chairwoman Mitchell Baker also wrote another post, highlighting the organization's stand against SOPA and PIPA.
SOPA/PIPA and the Corner Store
Baker argues that "SOPA makes all of us potential criminals if we don’t become the enforcement arm of a new government regulatory and policing structure."
"Assume," Baker writes, "there’s a corner store in your neighborhood that rents movies. But the movie industry believes that some or even all of the videos in that store are unauthorized copies, so that they’re not being paid when people watch their movies. What should be done?
SOPA/PIPA don’t aim at the people trying to get to the store. SOPA/ PIPA don’t penalize or regulate the store itself. SOPA and PIPA penalize us if we don’t block the people trying to get to the store."