Google Blackens Its Logo To Protest SOPA/PIPA, While Bing & Yahoo Carry On As Usual

As promised earlier, Google has voiced its opposition to two bills currently being discussed in Congress that the company says — and countless critics around the world agree — would censor the web and hurt U.S. businesses.

While some sites like Wikipedia are going black for the day on Wednesday, Google has instead chosen to cover its logo in black and add a short message on its home page: Tell Congress: Please don’t censor the web!


The message links to a new End Piracy, Not Liberty page where Google is encouraging visitors to sign a petition against the legislation and sharing this message:

Two bills before Congress, known as the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, would censor the Web and impose harmful regulations on American business. Millions of Internet users and entrepreneurs already oppose SOPA and PIPA.

The Senate will begin voting on January 24th. Please let them know how you feel. Sign this petition urging Congress to vote NO on PIPA and SOPA before it is too late.

The page also includes a PDF/infographic detailing the groundswell of opposition to SOPA and PIPA.

If you’re not familiar with SOPA (and its Senate counterpart, PIPA), see Chris Sherman’s article on Marketing Land, What All Marketers Need To Know About SOPA – The Stop Online Piracy Act.

What About Bing, Yahoo & Other Search Engines

Meanwhile, as of this moment, both Bing and Yahoo are carrying on in a business-as-usual mode.

Microsoft issued a statement today saying that it does oppose “the SOPA bill as currently drafted,” but neither nor make any mention right now of that opposition. Here’s the current Bing home page, which has a scenic photo of Norway.


Likewise, neither nor its search-only home page at are showing anything related to the legislation or protests, unless you count the appearance of “PIPA” as No. 9 on Yahoo’s “Trending Now” topics.


There’s also nothing currently showing on’s home page, but a PR rep for IAC notified us earlier tonight that Ask will “donate” ad space on its home page to voice its opposition to the legislation. The ad space, we’re told, will link to this page with details about SOPA and tools for people to contact their representatives.

Postscript: Although isn’t showing anything related to SOPA/PIPA, Yahoo’s Flickr photo sharing site has gotten involved by letting users darken any photo on the site — their own or anyone else’s. (Photo owners can opt out of having their photos darkened.) Here’s one of my recent photos that I’ve darkened:


Postscript #2: Duck Duck Go has joined the ranks of search engines that are protesting SOPA/PIPA. Here’s what its homepage looks like today.


Related Stories

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Google: Legal | Google: Logos | Legal: Censorship | Legal: Regulation | Top News


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • Karla

    While freedom of speech is very precious and nobody would want to impede our freedoms – there needs to be some control on harassment. Children are killing themselves over cruelty on the web. Memorial sites are slimed by trolls. You cannot legislate morality but there needs to be some guidelines. People will say things on a computer they would not dare say to someone’s face. Post whatever you want, but stop the direct “attacks” on innocent people. Freedom comes with some expected responsibilities and morals.

  • N.M. has joined in on this!

  • Richard Taylor

    What does bullying have to do with SOPA and PIPA Karla?
    And yes freedom of speech and expression are super important! I believe this is our god given right!

  • W.M.

    Government intelligence…….That’s funny!!!!!!

    Irresponsible ISP’s allowing rampant content – that is not.

    We don’t need new laws to hold ISP’s accountable for what is published through their services. Every single industry has its own policies and codes/standards on how things are done – from designing rockets to designing toys…..even this site has its own guidelines!

    What is needed is a a TRADE ORGANIZATION, made up of interested parties – from ISPs to content providers, interested individuals – and yes – government! – to determine how content will be monitored and removed. NOT NEW LAWS!!!!!

    Anytime the government sticks its fingers in something – nothing good ever comes of it…..

  • Mary Weinstein

    @Matt McGee, Do you think this blackout will effectively create change or just delay the inevitable?

  • Anthony Pensabene

    Thanks for the post, Matt. I think at heart, many of us who work within the Web industry and those just “browsing” are opposed to SOPA/PIPA.

    However, I’m not enchanted by Google’s “black bar” notion today. My reason to oppose SOPA/ PIPA comes from a “justice for all” type of sentiment, championing the best user experience, which ultimately helps online businesses as well. Anyone who has been keeping “tabs” on some of Google’s (the brand) behaviors of late, may think Google should black itself out due to internal shame rather than due to a quick Web design endeavor.

    I’m not offended by Bing or Yahoo’s homepages today..I’m working today, trying to enrich the Web environment, and glad Bing and Yahoo are fully operational, hopefully doing the same.

  • Durant Imboden

    Protests in support of “Internet freedom” are fine, but it’s important to remember that organizations like Google and Wikipedia stand to lose from laws that punish Internet piracy–especially if those laws interfere with “safe harbor” loopholes.

    Piracy is a very real problem, and the current reactive approach used by Google AdSense, YouTube, Wikipedia, etc. is ineffective. Let’s take AdSense as an example: On several occasions, I’ve filed DMCA complaints with Google AdSense. In each case, Google has gone through the procedure outlined by the DMCA, but the offenders’ AdSense accounts have not been closed. The offenders are still in the made-for-AdSense Website business, and Google is still collecting revenue from ads on content thieves’ sites. Without laws that have consequences for both the thieves and their enablers, the Internet will become even more of a “Wild West” than it already is, and we’ll see more and more profiteering by organized crime.

  • S.V.

    You could always use google cache to access wikipedia contents

  • Manoj Pallai

    Hello, I also want to join SOPA/PIPA, How and what I have to do?

  • James Possible

    STOP SOPA/PIPA by joining the millions like you… …people who understand that this legislation is an attack on our freedom.

    I’m with Richard, “What does bullying have to do with SOPA and PIPA Karla?” Agreed!

    Have you taken time to “READ”, to “UNDERSTAND” and maybe even more importantly to “ASK QUESTIONS” to be “CURIOUS”…

    If such a legislation is passed “what impact does it have on me, my friends, my business, the businesses of others I know?”

    There are ways to handle “copyright” issues today. The last thing we need is government “up in our business”. Giving the few the ability to act without due course or process is not what America is about.

    The Internet requires a new mindset as it puts the power back in the hands of the many where it should be.

    Do you really want to empower a government, with legislation, that is at it’s lowest rating ever when it comes to the public trust to decide what is right or wrong? Unless you’ve been living with your head in the sand it’s pretty clear that our public official’s (i.e., the government) have enough challenges, don’t you think?

    Have you asked yourself whether or not this legislation protects the rights of the innocent?

    Have you asked yourself…”who stands to gain the most from this legislation?” …maybe you should.

    Instead of whinning about inequities…take responsibility, investigate, educate and then take a stand.

    “STOP” relying on legislation and the government to act on your behalf…
    “STOP” relying on legislation and the government to decide for you…

    Take responsibility for your freedom.

    Freedom is not something that you get for free. There is a cost, you must be willing to defend your freedom. You must be willing to act on your freedom as well.

  • George Michie

    Unfortunately, many of the opponents of SOPA/PIPA, likely including some of the commentators on this thread, are among those profiting from pirated content.

    I oppose SOPA and PIPA because they are poorly crafted, overly broad and will therefore have disastrous side effects.

    However, government is wading in where it isn’t wanted because the industry to this point has done a Horrendously poor job of policing itself. Eliminating piracy for profit would benefit web users and legitimate businesses tremendously, but crafting laws to do so is difficult business. If the industry opposes government legislation it needs to do a better job of taking on this problem itself.

  • Michael Martinez

    Good job on NOT reporting about the safe harbor provisions in the text of SOPA that would have protected the vast majority of Websites. I have so rarely in my time seen such a well-orchestrated propaganda campaign designed to hide the facts from people by appealing to their emotions with lies and half-truths and omitted truths.

    Everyone who contributed to the anti-SOPA hysteria did an amazing job of misleading the public.

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