sopa google doodle Google joins Wikipedia in SOPA protestThe powers that be at Google want us to know that they, too, are opposed to SOPA — the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act. But unlike sites including Wikipedia and Reddit, that shut down entirely on Wednesday (Jan. 18), Google opted to instead black out their logo — aka the Google Doodle.

Clicking on the “censored” doodle takes clickers to a Google-sponsored call-to-action page that explains the downsides of SOPA and PIPA 9the Protect IP Act) and asks readers to sign a petition protesting the two bills.

Critics say SOPA would give the government unprecedented and extraordinary power to censor sites without going through any legal process. One example cited by Gizmodo:

“If Warner Bros., for example, says that a site in Italy is torrenting a copy of The Dark Knight, the studio could demand that Google remove that site from its search results, that PayPal no longer accept payments to or from that site, that ad services pull all ads and finances from it, and–most dangerously–that the site’s ISP prevent people from even going there.”

The same article explains that the act could also make it super-easy for entities to easily create Internet “blacklists” and easily target competitors in order to gain a business advantage.

“Fighting online piracy is important,” reads Google’s anti-SOPA/PIPA page. “The most effective way to shut down pirate websites is through targeted legislation that cuts off their funding. There’s no need to make American social networks, blogs and search engines censor the Internet or undermine the existing laws that have enabled the Web to thrive, creating millions of U.S. jobs.”

Posted by:Liz Kelly Nelson