Some of the internet's major players—including Google, Wikipedia, and Reddit—are pissed off, and their anger has been growing steadily for the past few months. They're not the only ones: Justin Bieber and his tween fans, the lolcats of Icanhazcheezburger?, the comic genius behind TheOatmeal.com, and Tumblr's many resident hipsters are also very upset. The reason for all the ire? These people and organizations believe that two online anti-piracy bills working their way through the House and Senate—the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), respectively—have the potential to undermine the creative and entrepreneurial freedom of the web if they become law.
On Wednesday, in protest of a scheduled January 24 vote on PIPA, several of the internet's most-visited websites either censored their homepage or blacked out their content completely. Which websites have gone dark, leaving their users without valuable services and time-wasting internet memes? Click through the slideshow to find out.
To learn more about why so many web users and online entrepreneurs oppose these bills so strongly, read about how this is one situation where Big Hollywood might not get its way, how SOPA could "destroy the internet," and why Justin Bieber fans were afraid PIPA would send their beloved crooner to jail.