Generally, Google’s trademark bare home page has only been used to celebrate significant birthdays and events with Google Doodles, or to promote Google features, such as Google Offers or the addition of a blue arrow to call attention to the opening of Google+.
But tomorrow, millions of people visiting Google’s home page will be greeted with a link demonstrating the company’s opposition to controversial anti-piracy bill SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act.
“Like many businesses, entrepreneurs, and Web users, we oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking American companies to censor the Internet,” a Google representative told CNET and confirmed by ClickZ News. “So tomorrow we will be joining many other tech companies to highlight this issue on our U.S. home page.”
Google won’t be going quite as far as some other sites. Wikipedia and hundreds of websites (including Reddit, WordPress, and Mozilla) plan to go offline for 24 hours to protest SOPA. Over the weekend, Google also responded to tweets from NewsCorp’s Rupert Murdoch, who blasted Google as a “piracy leader.” Google responded by saying:
“We’ve worked hard to help rights holders deal with piracy. Last year, we took down five million infringing web pages from our search results and invested more than $60 million in the fight against bad ads. Like many other tech companies, we believe there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking U.S. companies to censor the internet”.
Google hasn’t hidden their disdain for SOPA. Co-founder Sergey Brin in December posted on Google+ about SOPA and Protect IP Act (PIPA):
“… imagine my astonishment when the newest threat to free speech has come from none other but the United States. Two bills currently making their way through congress — SOPA and PIPA — give the US government and copyright holders extraordinary powers including the ability to hijack DNS and censor search results (and this is even without so much as a proper court trial). While I support their goal of reducing copyright infringement (which I don’t believe these acts would accomplish), I am shocked that our lawmakers would contemplate such measures that would put us on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world.”
In November, Google protested against SOPA at a House Judiciary Committee hearing. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt called piracy solutions “draconian” and “censorship.”