Flickr’s SOPA protest lets users black out their own photos, and other people’s

Flickr’s SOPA protest lets users black out their own photos, and other people’s

With Google and hundreds of other major sites taking very public stances against SOPA and PIPA on their homepages, Yahoo’s popular photo-sharing website Flickr has handed power to its users, by letting them black-out their own photos and even uploads by other members.

Detailing its stance on its official blog, Flickr said that believes that whilst the SOPA and PIPA acts are designed to address a legitimate problem, they believe that the bills miss the mark and could potentially “stifle innovation, require censorship of search results, impose monitoring obligations, and change the way information is distributed on the web”.

With the pending votes on both bills, Flickr has helped raise awareness about the legislation by allowing its users to darken their photos (and photos of others) for a 24-hour period. The hope is that by depriving the web “of the rich content that makes it thrive,” Flickr users could help draw attention to the issue and “potential impacts of these bills.”

On each Flickr photo page, there is a small box below the image that reads:

Many websites today are engaging in an awareness campaign about two pieces of pending U.S. anti-piracy legislation — SOPA (The Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (The Protect IP Act).

If you would like to join Internet users around the world in this campaign, you may choose to symbolically darken Flickr photos (yours or others), depleting the web of rich content and letting others know about the potentially harmful impact of these bills. For more information see

Flickr also provides a link to allow its users to opt-out, so other users will not be able to darken photos on their behalf. If they choose to leave the setting, users can darken up to 10 photos (whether it be their own or other users’), after that the option will be disabled.

We imagine this campaign will only be have an impact on photos taken by some of the more popular Flickr users but it’s a start, users will feel they can help protest the bills, without Flickr having to do much to help them do so.

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