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By now, most of you have probably heard of the SOPA and PIPA bills being considered by the US government. These are poorly thought out "anti-piracy" laws backed by corporate lobbyists that threaten freedom of speech and information on the Internet. This is especially worrisome for sites that rely on user-generated content like MA, because it gives the authorities the right to take down a whole domain due to complaints against content posted by a single user. Though this is an American law, it unfortunately has the potential to affect the whole world, as a major part of Internet infrastructures are US-based. While SOPA has been put on hold for the time being in the House of Representatives (though who knows when it will return?), PIPA is still going forward in the senate and the vote on it is scheduled for January 24th. You can read more details about this issue and why this is really detrimental to the Internet in this article on the Electronic Frontier Foundation website.
Now, many sites (led by heavyweights Reddit and Wikipedia) are organizing a planned downtime or "blackout" on January 18th to protest against these bills and raise awareness for the situation, and MA will be joining in. This means that the site will be inaccessible for a period of 24 hours starting on the 18th at 05:00 UTC (or midnight EST). We apologize for this inconvenience, but we hope you agree that this is a worthy cause and give us your support. Please spread the word about this issue and, if you are American, consider contacting your local representative or senator to voice your opposition to these bills. The website americancensorship.org has quick forms that make it very easy to send your comments to the relevant authorities, as well as a petition for non-US citizens, plus other actions you can take and information about the subject.