Tomorrow, LibriVox.org will go dark (though the forums will remain up). Instead of our regular pages and catalog, you’ll see the following:
Today, many websites around the Internet have “gone dark” to protest against, and raise awareness about some very important proposed legislation in the United States, which could fundamentally alter how the Internet operates: House Bill 3261, The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and S.968, the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA).
Archive.org (where LibriVox hosts its audio), is going dark from 6:00 am – 6:00 pm PST on Wednesday January 18 (9:00 am – 9:00 pm EST – 14:00 – 02:00 GMT) as part of this important protest. This means that the LibriVox catalog will not be accessible during this time.
Legislation such as SOPA and PIPA directly affects libraries (pdf) such as the Internet Archive — and indeed LibriVox — which collect, preserve, and offer access to cultural materials. Furthermore, these laws can negatively affect the ecosystem of web publishing that led to the emergence of the LibriVox.
These bills would encourage the development of blacklists to censor sites with little recourse or due process. The Internet Archive (and with it LibriVox audio files) are already blacklisted in China. There are real concerns that this legislation could lead to similar blacklists in the United States.
For United States residents, please inform yourself of these issues, and if you think they are important, please take action.
For non-US residents: Sorry for dragging you into this, and if you are willing, you might wish to sign a petition to the State Department to express your concern.