The Washington Post

GOOGLE BLACKS OUT: ‘Censored’ logo goes dark to oppose SOPA/PIPA legislation

Google regularly makes creative use of its homepage art that it has patented as “Doodles.” Wednesday’s logo, however, is the Internet company’s most powerful visual statement ever.

Where the brightly colored letters spelling “Google” normally appear, today the iconic logo is almost entirely blocked out and blacked out to protest proposed congressional legislation involving Internet regulation.

Click on the black “redacted” logo and the directive “Tell Congress: Please don’t censor the Web” appears in the search bar. Click on the logo and Google takes you to a signable petition beneath the slogan, “End piracy, not liberty.”

On explaining its opposition, Google writes in part: “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.”

Such a prominent visual statement distinctly underscores the degree to which such Web sites as and Wikipedia have become such a profound part of the daily routine for hundreds of millions. Wikipedia — the crowd-sourced free encyclopedia — had announced that its U.S. site would go dark for 24 hours Wednesday, as of midnight Eastern time.

The Post’s David A. Fahrenthold writes that technology companies “such as Twitter, Wikipedia and Google have used their massive reach into Americans’ daily lives as a political weapon, to whip up support from online users.”

The bills in question are the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House, and the Protect IP [intellectual property] Act in the Senate. Their purpose is to curb online piracy committed by foreign Web sites by restricting U.S. companies; the bills have the support of numerous Hollywood entertainment companies (including Disney-owned Marvel Entertainment). Tech companies such as Google, The Post reports, “argue that the bills would impose huge regulatory costs and stifle innovation on the Web.”

To raise awareness of the proposed legislation and spur its users to be heard, Google lets the stark boldness of its logo “art” do the talking.

For Google, after all, mobilization is the new black.

Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.


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