While it seems likely that the Stop Online Piracy Act has died in the House of Representatives a week before Congress was set to vote on it, the Internet is still not breathing a sigh of relief. The fate of the Protect-IP legislation is still in the hands of the Senate. To help Congress and other Americans who may not realize what’s at stake should these acts pass, many sites are going dark on Wednesday, January 18.

Going Dark

Wikipedia, Reddit, Mozilla, TwitPic and WordPress have already said they would go dark on Wednesday. And some of the biggest names online, including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, have vocally opposed the proposed legislation. So what can we expect come Wednesday? What is the lesson we are supposed to learn?

Going dark means that access to many of these popular websites will be shut down and may redirect you to online petitions. Even if Google and Twitter still remain active during the day, our regular day of perusing websites for information will be compromised -- and that’s the point. It isn’t that we’ve come to rely on sites such as Google or Wikipedia for quick information retrieval. It’s that they are able to do it by curating others’ content -- which, according to SOPA, would be subject to fines and other penalties. As well, legislation like SOPA and Protect-IP could require your Internet provider to block websites that are involved in digital file sharing. And search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing could be stopped from linking to them.

Speak Up

Don’t think that you’ll be affected by some of these sites going dark? You may be surprised. The list of sites participating is growing. You can find a complete list at  SOPAStrike.com. So what should you do if you find that the Internet is darker than usual? Why, call your Congress member and tell them why you’re against SOPA and PIPA and why they should be too.

Most of all, be vocal. While being an activist may not be your bag, we encourage you to speak up. Talk about it to your co-workers at lunch (since you probably won’t be eating in front of your computer anyway -- I Can Haz Cheezburger will be down, after all). For those who don’t live and breathe the Internet, SOPA and PIPA may have gone unnoticed, so take the time to educate your friends, family and neighbors and encourage them to get involved.

Note: CMSWire had originally scheduled our Tweet Jam for Wednesday, but to honor the Internet Blackout, we have changed it to Thursday, January 19 at 10 am PT, 1 pm ET. Please join us as we talk about the future of customer experience.