Today was the day of the great SOPA blackout, where (as you know if you've been anywhere on the internet) sites from Wikipedia to BoingBoing, from Open Media to Koumbit (the rad Montreal web design and hosting collective that hosts http://dominionpaper.ca) went dark to protest and give just a taste of a future where the Stop Online Privacy Act is in place.
Many others have explained it better than I can, but the proposed US legislation would essentially impose draconian measures that would block access to websites that may be featuring copyrighted material.
The web exploded in excitement when word came that SOPA was dead, and that the sponsor of the bill's slightly-less evil US Senate sibling, PIPA, said he would agree to remove the more egregious components of the bill. But while US President Barack Obama did say he would veto SOPA as it's currently written, the bill is actually more on hold - with the bill's sponsor, Lamar Smith, vowing to make modifications and resurrect it.
Which brings us to the video above. Clay Shirky has made his name espousing the open web, often when it comes to journalism. In this short TED talk, he explains why SOPA and PIPA are actually the logical continuations of the machinations of large media conglomerates to protect their interests that began back in 1992. And he also explains why we better be ready to take any protest further than a one day affair.
One last note: if you think that just because this is a US law, Canadians and others need not care, Michael Geist, the dean of Canadian copyright law and open internet activism, will set you straight.