Operation SOPA/PIPA Blackout

Posted By: Nathan Betzen on Jan 16, 2012 in Community Updates, Dev Journal, Site News

zappy-censoredOn January 18th, the entire XBMC.org website will go black in protest of SOPA/PIPA.

XBMC prefers to avoid political activism. It is our opinion that we are builders of software. Awesome software, to be precise. And we, as a group, do not care one bit how our users choose to use that software, nor do we have any interest in standing in our users way.

However, under provisions granted by SOPA/PIPA, if a copyright holder believes that any piece of our website violates their copyright, whether it be a picture in our forum, an item on our blog, or a single addon in one of our mirrors, they could use unprecedented measures to deny access to xbmc’s website and services  without due process. (see EFF Report for a better and more thorough explanation)

In essence, we’d have to make a choice. Do we want to keep building awesome software and in so doing waste 75% of our coding time acting as the police officers of our users trying to find and delete every single piece of content that might potentially have copyright issues, or do we want to give up this project entirely?

We, the developers of XBMC, believe this “choice” is not a choice at all, and as such, we oppose this Bill.

We recognize that many disagree with our stance on this subject, and invite all to examine the text of the SOPA Bill, the coverage of the SOPA bill performed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and whatever sources you trust on this topic, before coming to your own conclusions.

It is for all these reasons and more that, on January 18th, we will be joining reddit, Raspberry Pi, XDA Developers, The Linux Forum, and numerous others by blacking out our website for the day. We invite you to educate yourself and then, if you live in America, contact your local congressman and senator to further this discussion.

Discussion - 90 Comments

  • darktranq Jan 16, 2012 

    Where were all these people when Beta, VHS, and cassette tape machines started to have recording buttons?

    Where were all these people when the write-protected tabs on said Beta, VHS, and cassette tapes could be overwritten with a simple piece of sticky tape?

    Where were all these people when Commodore 64 games could be shared with multiple floppy drive units connected, and again, said sticky tape trickery?

    Hypocricy at the worst – oh but they lose money because of no advertisements on BT TV shows.


    Sony, Panasonic, Pioneer, and countless companies involved in pioneering (sic) video tape, cassette, CD, DVD, and now Blu-Ray never were brought to stand trial as judge, jury, or executioner against their consumers, yet in the digital age, people stand by and let this happen.

    The human race and what we have become is disgraceful.

  • Anonymous Jan 16, 2012 

    I am very proud of you decision. SOPA is a very scary piece of legislation and I am glad to see you take a stance. Thank you

  • Anton Jan 16, 2012 

    I think this bill is ridiculous, everything deserves due action/course. The morality/legality of something
    like a tracking cookie gets left alone though, so its ok for e.g for google to know what sites i visit etc
    but yet they will take your whole website down without warning if they THINK something violates some copyright…

  • Andy M Jan 16, 2012 

    I fully agree and I think we all need to take a stand against the SOPA. Granted, piracy needs curbing but the SOPA is NOT the way to do it. Besides which, it’s yet another waste of time and money as wel all know that some smart guys will always find a way around it.

    They moan about losing money over piracy yet they spend billions all the time trying to fight it. When will they learn that you can’t stop anything online?

    People should focus on making content on the internet for all that is high quality, and maybe people will pirate less as it will be something worth paying for. Like XBMC.

  • Engienerisaac Jan 16, 2012 

    They dont understand that if this bill passes A Replacement DNS protocall Much like Torrent Basies systems Will become In effect. Making By Nature the interent More Social. And Also By nature Making it more unstable and Less In control. IF this bill passes Many will Move to the New DNS replacement witch is Not Controlled or Guded by one single Structure. Effectively Destroying The internet.

    SONY, Comcast and a few Others Will surely Watch all there sales die from the net if this bill Passes. Its short sighted by far.

  • Markus Jan 16, 2012 

    Well done XBMC.org! You got my full support.

  • derNager Jan 16, 2012 

    Hi guys,

    thank you for this great piece of software.
    I just want to say im proud of you not just ignoring things like SOPA. This is not just an american problem, i think the tendency also in europe is going to laws that “help” copyright owners in a way not compatible with our laws.
    Greetings from Germany

  • wouterdt Jan 16, 2012 

    Awesome! I am 100% behind you guys on this one!

  • Kev Thomas Jan 16, 2012 

    I am glad to be apart of XBMC…The use of some (VERY AWESOME!) software is a privilege indeed…Because it’s free….
    Because it’s idea’s & the imaginations of huge numbers of people from all over this planet comming togetger as a community
    and sharing idea’s to make things work better,faster,prettier…To share in an experience…To be apart of…XBMC is everything
    But control….It is freedom to express to design to create….I appreciate your stand against SOPA and laws like it that want to hinder
    the creativity of your many talents….Thanks all at XBMC !!!

  • Matthew Spence Jan 16, 2012 


    I for one support your action

  • bertybassett Jan 16, 2012 

    SOPA is pure evil brought about my company’s offering congressman large funds to back these idea’s time to make stand.

  • ralob Jan 16, 2012 

    I fully support team XBMC’s decision to blackout on the 18th. The more sites that blackout the better so the public can be made aware of the travesty that is SOPA/PIPA.

  • Anonymous Jan 16, 2012 

    I totally support this decision from Spain, where we are going to suffer a similar law aimed at restricting the liberty of speech and protecting the insterests of a corrupted minority

  • Andrew McMillan Jan 16, 2012 

    Great work guys, SOPA is Evil and should be stopped at all costs.

  • chrisanthropic Jan 16, 2012 

    Thanks guys, I didn’t hear back from the email but saw this pop up on my RSS feed today and got a huge grin! Well done!

  • kevcampbell Jan 16, 2012 

    i hope organizations like this and similar ones are stopped

    if not i hope anonymous can somehow come to the rescue, they seeem to be the internets superheroes, sometimes

  • Hitcher Jan 16, 2012 

    Surely a blackout will only hurt/effect the members and do absolutely nothing to actually stop SOPA/PIPA?

    As a skinner I rely on the forum/wiki all the time.

  • Mike Plow Jan 16, 2012 

    Well the bill just got a knock back

    White House responds to SOPA petition as hearing is delayed, DNS blocking on the outs
    By Donald Melanson posted Jan 14th 2012 at 1:01PM
    It’s turned out to be a big weekend for those concerned about the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act. Yesterday came word that a key House hearing originally scheduled for Wednesday will be delayed until there is a “consensus” on the bill, and today the White House has issued an official statement on SOPA (and the Protect IP Act, its counterpart in the Senate) in response to a petition that drew thousands of signatures. While it doesn’t go quite as far as to issue a firm veto threat from the President, it does lay out the administration’s position in the clearest terms yet, including the condition that any proposed law “must not tamper with the technical architecture of the Internet through manipulation of the Domain Name System.” That follows word late last week that Representative Lamar Smith and Senator Patrick Leahy would indeed pull the DNS provisions from SOPA and PIPA. The White House statement is less specific in other respects, but it broadly states that the administration will “not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.”

    In related news, the planned blackouts to protest SOPA and PIPA only seem to be increasing, with the popular xda-developers forum recently announcing that it will go dark at 8AM on January 18th, and return either at 8PM or as soon as it’s able to get 50,000 people to sign a pledge to contact their local Senator or Representative.”


  • Mike Plow Jan 16, 2012 

    Sorry all, only meant to paste the bottom part of the page. Doh.

  • schiwe Jan 16, 2012 

    XBMC You got my support!

  • queeup Jan 16, 2012 

    Full support.

  • Craig Jan 16, 2012 

    Is just the website going down or the entire xbmc server? Will our installs and scrapers continue to work?

  • maxolasersquad Jan 16, 2012 

    I agree with your reasoning here. It is not normally a good idea for businesses to take stances on subjects like this, but the negative effect this may have on the industry and on your business specifically make it one worth getting behind the opposition.

  • Richard Ayotte Jan 16, 2012 

    You’ve got my full support. The US seems to be able to “influence” our current government in power more than I’d like and SOPA is the last thing that I’d like to see in Canada.

  • Cavalicious Jan 16, 2012 

    Hitcher :
    Surely a blackout will only hurt/effect the members and do absolutely nothing to actually stop SOPA/PIPA?
    As a skinner I rely on the forum/wiki all the time.

    Totally agree! What is the real accomplishment by killing the site for a day? You really think anyone at EFF cares?

  • Mike Plow Jan 16, 2012 

    You have my support too, but what is a real shame is that the really big boys, who are against the scheme, don’t go offline for the day. 98 percent of net users have probably never heard of SOPA and what it might mean for the internet as we know it. If Google took themselves and Youtube offline for a day and Facebook did likewise, that would really send a message.

  • Alex Jan 16, 2012 

    You got my full support! I agree that SOPA is not the right way to fight piracy.

  • Richard Ayotte Jan 16, 2012 
  • Gosciu Jan 16, 2012 

    You should move your servers to Poland. In Polish law, if any site/forum is not moderated, administrator of this server is not responsible for any information or data submited by website/forum user.

  • Oli_Oops Jan 16, 2012 

    You got my support. Down with SOPA!

  • PIPA_Blackout Jan 16, 2012 

    It might be prudent to re-label to “Operation SOPA/PIPA Blackout”. The US House bill known as SOPA was just shelved (maybe permanently), but the US Senate bill PIPA is still very much alive.

  • L1onsG8 Jan 16, 2012 

    In swedish the acronym SOPA literally means TRASH. Go figure ;)

  • koopa Jan 16, 2012 

    “Land of the Free” is all that comes to mind…oh the irony.

  • ShabbyDog Jan 16, 2012 

    Cavalicious :

    Hitcher :
    Surely a blackout will only hurt/effect the members and do absolutely nothing to actually stop SOPA/PIPA?
    As a skinner I rely on the forum/wiki all the time.

    Totally agree! What is the real accomplishment by killing the site for a day? You really think anyone at EFF cares?

    It’s not about if they care or not. It’s not about it making a difference or not. It’s a way of making people aware of the issues (much like Earth Hour in many ways).

    Yes, it will make the site unavailable for a day, but if 10% of the people who see the announcement reads up on what SOPA is and will/might mean that is worth it.

  • ghostface237 Jan 16, 2012 

    You got my full support! I agree that SOPA is not the right way to fight piracy.

  • Waynehead99 Jan 16, 2012 

    Wow… a day? You can’t come up with something better to do for a day? It’s not gonna change anything your right, but it’s about taking a stand and showing support.

    Get a life, if you rely on this site and can’t handle it being down for a day…. wowowowowowow

    I fully support XBMC and like that people are taking a stand.

  • sdsnyr94 Jan 16, 2012 

    Thank You!

  • Statz Jan 16, 2012 

    Guys ive been following XBMC from the classic xbox days and i appreciate all your work…you guys quitting would be heart wrenching.. im with you guys 100%…

  • Keith Jan 16, 2012 

    The SPOA bill has been killed.

  • Keith Jan 16, 2012 

    (And so has the SOPA one :) )

  • sjel Jan 16, 2012 

    The travesty of it all is just mindblowing. Argueing that its a juridicial (juridiculous ?;-p law,while it in fact is nothing more than looking after the interest of big corporate lobbies. And that’s not what government is intended for. Or is it?

    Down with government, up with people! Geronimo!

  • Antony Firewalk Jan 16, 2012 

    100% support you….

  • Banned Dude Test Jan 16, 2012 

    “… keep building awesome software and in so doing waste 75% of our coding time ….”

    rhetorically or literally? I’d vote for a 100% effort in getting eden out the door asap, instead of worrying about an inept bureaucracy IMHO.

    Dharma v10 Jan 5, 2011 (365+ days)

    the silent HTPC majority.

  • STOP SOPA Jan 16, 2012 

    Cavalicious :

    Hitcher :
    Surely a blackout will only hurt/effect the members and do absolutely nothing to actually stop SOPA/PIPA?
    As a skinner I rely on the forum/wiki all the time.

    Totally agree! What is the real accomplishment by killing the site for a day? You really think anyone at EFF cares?

    It will do everything to stop SOPA and other Bad bills like this. When there is enough uproar from the public, it can actually win against powerful corporate lobbying. Read what happened (and what is still happening) to Godaddy.com when they stupidly decided to support SOPA. One more very important thing. Boycott EVERYTHING Rupert Murdoch!

  • Michael Etienne Jan 16, 2012 

    Dear XBMC team,

    I am hundred percent with you guys. I mean since I’ve discovered XBMC and started using it. My all family is enjoying it %.
    So, to hear that some ” People” are trying to be a pain in the xxx. And try to put an end to this…..

    No way. my all family is supporting you 100%. You guys are doing a great….
    How can we contribute to the fight please?????

  • SOPA Cabana Jan 16, 2012 

    SOPA RIP, PIPA goes on.. do blackout against PIPA! Kill pussycat! Kill! Kill! … aaww jeez.. I should lay off the caffeine..

  • NO to SOPA! Jan 16, 2012 

    I fully support you guys in this action against SOPA.
    I’m not from America, but I see similar trends in Europe.

    Instead of learning to take part of this shift of their “familiar” market, they try so fiercely to work against it.
    Piracy needs to be kicked to the curb without a doubt, but this is not the way to go.

    They see only Piracy and not what is happening with their own market.
    Instead of holding on to old profit models they should take a look at the huge opportunities programs like XMBC – and programs alike – give to their market.

    It is hard to express this properly in a foreign language and hope it comes across the way I intend.
    In short, stop fighting it, play it like it is THE competition on your market and be smart with getting them out of play.
    Big companies do this all the time, but can’t seem to fathom the proper way of battling this diseased competition called Piracy.

    The SOPA approach will have to much Collateral damage!

    I say NO to SOPA!
    I say NO to PIRACY!

  • natethomas Jan 16, 2012 

    Excellent point.

  • derp Jan 16, 2012 

    oh noes and on 18th my new 42′ tv arrives
    what if i need help configuring xbmc with it?

  • Aaron C. de Bruyn Jan 16, 2012 

    For Americans, I recommend understanding your right to due process (one of the enumerated rights in the Constitution): http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8A1521C99D6ED8CE
    The talk is given by a former computer programmer for a nuclear power plant.

  • Loren Wagner Jan 16, 2012 

    please everybody,
    don’t talk only here. talk in reallife too! take action!

    who cares about a black website?! the website will be black anyways because the software (XBMC) supports illegal filmz….

  • Loren Wagner Jan 16, 2012 

    @Loren Wagner
    ups. my cynic-tags are filtered out…the last sentence was cynic…

  • Denis Jan 16, 2012 

    Even out of US, I will follow you, XDA Dev and all the members of this one-day-association-for blackout.
    I fear the day when words are under copyright, and writing “Movie”or “Music” or “Software” will violate one or more laws.
    Rip DVD or R.I.P. Freedom, we now have a choice to make. I believe yours is the right one.

  • Don Jan 16, 2012 

    100% on board. SOPA is NOT the solution.

  • farsight Jan 16, 2012 

    Here we go again, another distraction before the U.S. starts another war. It’s likely that the SOPA bill will fail but it will keep the natives distracted and divided while the government falsifies evidence and goes to war with Iran.Gone are the days of everyone being united and focused on the root of injustice. SOPA will fail and be a success.

  • Moonwhaler Jan 17, 2012 
  • Anonymous Jan 17, 2012 

    Moonwhaler :
    SOPA seems to be “out of order”: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/01/16/1457237/house-kills-sopa

    But not dead. Just postponed until they can resolve the issues.

  • Rui Jan 17, 2012 

    I agree 100 percent with you. If they do not want copiright material to be copied, close the industry of cd writers, virgins cd’s etc…Some lobotomies is not a bad idea. I love XBMC and the spirit of the org. Please do not give up

  • TheTruth Jan 17, 2012 

    @Loren Wagner
    I don’t remember XBMC ever supporting illegal films?

  • pio Jan 17, 2012 

    100% Agree, SOPA IS NOT A SOLUTION.

  • A-Swiss Jan 17, 2012 

    Maybe it’s because of 2012 – remember – The Maya announced the end of the fith cicle – ending with a bang to start from scratch.
    What if SOPA and all these kind of regulations will bring the whole world to collapse?
    Imagine that all new BD-Player, Tablets, TVs, PCs have software to play what anyone has on Disk, USBstick or any other Media.
    So all these innovations will be useless because of the strange ideas of some people.
    And regarding to all the more important problems we have on earth – do these people have nothing better to do than this?
    Anyone should be happy to have a job, or to get a job opportunity – with regulations like that, thousends of jobs will just blow up – the end seems to come near…
    And i’m from switzerland, where the download of medias (with Torrents or so) is allowed… still

  • hd420p Jan 17, 2012 

    100% behind this

  • 法兰琳卡 Jan 17, 2012 

    辛卯年(兔)腊月廿五 2012-1-18

  • John Rothermund Jan 17, 2012 

    the government censorship needs to end. all it is nothing but bullshit. all americans should sign a partition saying that government should leave it the way it is. im sharing this on facebook.

  • Jules Jan 17, 2012 

    Typical, world domination-idiots!!!

  • Chris Jan 17, 2012 

    Glad to see you guys are joining in on the black out. these bills need to be stopped in their current form before the do serious damage to the industry.

  • spanish_bull Jan 17, 2012 

    In Spain we have the same crap: The “Sinde law” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16391727).
    Cinema industrie create a “black list” of web to be down…

  • Cavalicious Jan 17, 2012 

    Waynehead99 :
    Wow… a day? You can’t come up with something better to do for a day? It’s not gonna change anything your right, but it’s about taking a stand and showing support.
    Get a life, if you rely on this site and can’t handle it being down for a day…. wowowowowowow
    I fully support XBMC and like that people are taking a stand.

    So, through your useless rhetoric, you prove the point I was making… I don’t come to the site everyday (what I suspect most people as well) so one day isn’t going to matter to me (a user). So what will it really matter to “the movement.” So what outrage is it really going to spark? I understand, respect and agree with the intent, but really don’t how this will affect the “big picture.”

  • sickpuppies Jan 17, 2012 

    Good on you, XBMC. I think that every website should be joining this ‘blockade’.

    As far as the folks who are complaining about missing XBMC for a day; imagine what it would be like if they had to shutdown forever?

  • Mangosberry Jan 17, 2012 

    This will just be for a few hours or a day.. If SOPA or PIPA pass, this will be indefinite..

  • A-Swiss Jan 17, 2012 

    My support is with you – my site is blacked out now http://www.a-swiss.info/ check and see – thx

  • ARMADASKY Jan 17, 2012 

    WILL DO…

  • say what? Jan 18, 2012 

    How come WIKIPEDIA is black but XBMC is still up at least 10 minutes after midnight?

  • Anonymous Jan 19, 2012 

    Support XBMC in doing this but it is easy to get around…disable javascript in your browser and you can browse the blacked out websites just fine

  • thy Jan 19, 2012 

    disable java script and view blacked out websites :)

  • Cc Jan 19, 2012 

    @Loren Wagner
    By this logic, every gun owner is a killer.

  • HenryFord Jan 19, 2012 

    @Cc And by your logic, “cynical” isn’t a word.

  • Rsb Jan 20, 2012 

    Hey im new to xbmc, i just wanted to know when will xbmc be back up and running like normal so i can watch movies…

  • Jan Jan 20, 2012 

    How about the actions of FBI versus Megauploads?

  • Tight_wad Jan 20, 2012 

    Did you catch last nights debate. One of the questions asked was about sopa. None of the republican candidates said that they supported it.

  • wayne Jan 20, 2012 

    My XBMC on my Apple TV is not working. Does anyone know why or have the same problems? All I see is a black screen then it kicks back to the main Apple TV menu…Please help!

  • kand Jan 20, 2012 

    all I have to say is ‘typical freaking Americans’ who think they own the freakin world!

  • Gus Jan 21, 2012 

    My XBMC is not working properly. A lot of the movies are gone and some links are just not there.

  • Kissiel Jan 21, 2012 

    I though that we (in Europe/Poland) are safe (at least for a moment) until I’ve learned today, that Poland is going to singn ACTA which same shit as PIPA/SOPA.
    Our media was silent until almost today, when some of government web pages were finally blocked by hackers.

    Long Live Internet!!!

  • Paul Hawkins Jan 29, 2012 

    To Aaron C. de Bruyn’s point, IF everyone could read and understand the U.S. Constitution, they would discover that over the past 200 years things like SOPA have been happening behind our collective backs to take away All Kinds of freedoms. And the past 3 years have seen this erosion escalate at an exponential pace. Private Property Rights, Search and Seizure, Private Corporate Operations, just to name a few. Of course, it’s not until it affects one of us or our direct interests, that we sit up and take notice. And we’re STILL “finding out what is in” the 0bamaKare Legislation.
    Of course, we all have lives and can’t possibly keep our eye on every shenanigan our governments are pulling on their citizens and the people we “elect” to give that power to are as involved, or become involved, in it themselves. No State is safe from the corruption of Power. Today SOPA, tommorrow SOPA Lite and then more non-voted on regulation…
    I believe the Great Experiment of the United States has almost completely failed, and the citizens are as responsible for it as the Government is.

  • Paul Hawkins Jan 29, 2012 

    Uhm, yeah, and who do ALL the Freakin’ countries in the Freakin’ World come to expecting a Freakin’ Handout whenever they can’t handle something on their own ??



  • Paul Hawkins Jan 29, 2012 

    Rsb :
    Hey im new to xbmc, i just wanted to know when will xbmc be back up and running like normal so i can watch movies…

    Get off your lazy freeloading butt and get your own movies, that’s what XBMC is really for.

About Kodi

Kodi is a free and open source media player application developed by the XBMC Foundation, a non-profit technology consortium. Kodi is available for multiple operating-systems and hardware platforms, featuring a 10-foot user interface for use with televisions and remote controls. It allows users to play and view most videos, music, podcasts, and other digital media files from local and network storage media and the internet.