Update: It seems that this was very premature. See edits at the end.
I don't know whether to laugh or cry. It's hard work sometimes being a blogger with a conscience in cyberspace.
I've just spent an intense half an hour scrolling through code, as I prepared to join in the protest on January 18th 2012. On that day, huge giants of the internet would have entered blackout. Reddit, ICanHasCheezburger, Nerd Reactor and an increasing number of other websites were all pulling their pages for one day only. My friends and I have been watching that list growing daily - mega-sites pledging their support. The big question on everyone's lips was would Facebook and Google have the guts to join in?
Of course, I'm not anywhere near that league, but I do have an internet presence. I did have a few things to remove on SOPA Day. My websites are easy. I have full access to them, so it would be nothing to insert a file which took them off-line. But everywhere else was a little more tricky.
I'd already sussed that I could place all of my Wizzley articles into draft mode, which would delist them all. But I would have to persuade the site owners to remove my section of Suite101, MangaBullet and Sal's Realm of Runescape. Technically, I could pull the draft mode trick for Sal's too, but I've been writing blog entries there since early 2007. We're talking well over a thousand pages.
Then there are my two Blogger sites. I have some access to the code there and this was where I'd spent the past thirty minutes. It took a great deal of trial and error, but I eventually cracked it. I have four templates saved - two originals from this blog and Jo's Library; then two doctored with redirects.
On January 18th 2012, anyone trying to access either blog would have found themselves here. There would be no way to read my content until I returned the templates back to their original form.
All ready and set to go! Phew! I went to see which other sites had signed up in the interim and that led me to the news. An hour ago, President Obama signed a formal veto which effectively shelves both SOPA and PIPA.
It's early minutes yet. I'm going to keep my prepared coding safe on my hard-drive and we'll see how this pans out. Not that I'm a cynic, but I've seen the other foot falling one too many times. For now, I'll just cheer with the rest of the free world. It looks like it was another round for freedom of speech.
Edit: News I'm getting now is that Wikipedia is going ahead with the blackout. SOPA is shelved, not dead; and/or PIPA is shelved, not dead. Still monitoring Twitter and occasionally the less up-to-date press too.
5.06pm: AnonNews has just confirmed that the blackout is still on. PIPA going to the Senate on January 24th.
5.09pm: Reddit have confirmed that their blackout is also still on. I think it goes without saying that mine was back on the books the second the doubt crept in.
5.16pm: Jimmy Wales is Tweeting that he thinks it's just a tactic to ward off the blackout. Full steam ahead!
8pm: I'm still not getting a consistent story. It seems that this is the source. Though Eric Cantor may or may not have shelved it. Either way, every site that signed up is now saying that the protest is going ahead. I'm with them too.