On January 18, "Illusions of a Noetic Monk" went dark along with the English version of Wikipedia and several other websites in a coordinated service blackout to protest SOPA and its sister bill, the Protect IP Act, or PIPA. Other companies, including Google, posted links and images in an effort to raise awareness. An estimated 7,000 websites either blacked out their sites or posted a protest message. A number of other protest actions were organized, including petition drives, boycotts of companies that support the legislation, and a rally held in New York City. The important fact is that the blackout got noticed and there have been reports that several congressional leaders are postponing action on the bill until better solutions are found.
According to Wikipedia:
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a U.S. House bill to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. Proposals include barring advertising networks and payment facilities from conducting business with allegedly infringing websites, barring from linking to the sites, and requiring Internet service providers (ISP) to block access to the sites. The bill would criminalize the of such content, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
User-content websites such as YouTube would be greatly affected, and concern has been expressed that they may be shut down if the bill becomes law. Opponents state the legislation would enable law enforcement to remove an entire internet domain due to something posted on a single blog, arguing that an entire online community could be punished for the actions of a tiny minority. In a 1998 law, copyright owners are required to request the site to remove the infringing material within a certain amount of time. SOPA would bypass this "safe harbor" provision by placing the responsibility for detecting and policing infringement onto the site itself.
While nothing is inherently wrong with trying to protect intellectual properties, the real threats are to free speech - one of the cornerstones of the US Constitution - and the boundaries of government enforement. In such turbulent times, particularly, we cannot permit such fundamental rights to be eroded by misguided, unrestrained governmental intervention.