SOPA, the Stop Online Privacy Act, has been covered before here on Ghacks. The bill is a blatant attempt to give law enforcement agencies and copyright holders more abilities under U.S. law to fight counterfeit goods and copyright infringements. Many arguments have been brought forth against this, from threatening online freedom of speech and web-related businesses to lack of enforcement transparency (see Wikipedia for a detailed list of arguments)
In short SOPA is bad for the Internet and its users, and good for copyright holders.
Companies who support SOPA are already facing a backlash from Internet communities who have started to boycott the companies and their services (see for instance Goddady Tries To Recover After SOPA PR Nightmare).
No SOPA is a Chrome extension that aids Internet users in boycotting SOPA supporting companies and websites. The extension acts as a detector that informs Chrome users if the website they are currently on is supported SOPA.
A notification is displayed on top of the page if that is the case.
The website is still functional and the next step of action is entirely up to the individual user. Some users might close the website right away, others may want to contact the company expressing their disapproval while others may still do business with a company that's supporting SOPA.
No SOPA uses a database of known SOPA supporters that is updated by the developers regularly. This is necessary as companies may decided to withdraw their support or start supporting SOPA.
Popular companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Pfizer or the NBA are supporting the bill, while an equally elusive list including Google, Mozilla, Yahoo or AOL are opposing the bill.
Google Chrome users can download and install No SOPA from the official Google Chrome web store.
In addition; Chrome users can install SOPA Lens, an extension to visualize the effect that SOPA can have on today's Internet. The extension lets you flag websites that you think are infringing copyright, and displays information if a website has been flagged by a user of the extension, and how many users in total have flagged it.
Flag any sites that could threaten "your" corporation with a single click. Under SOPA, it may be this easy to file a complaint with the Attorney General that requires the government to send takedown notices to ISPs, search engines, and any other sites affiliated with the offender.
SOPA Lens is also available at the Chrome Web Store.
Update: Companies like Apple or Microsoft may not be supporting SOPA after all. Check the comments for more information.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.