Major Websites Black Out to Protest SOPA and PIPA Internet Censorship Bills

Posted on January 18, 2012

Many major websites have gone dark today to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) which are currently pending in both houses of Congress. These bills would give major censorship powers to entertainment and media companies. The bill could result in large portions of the Internet being censored. The bills could bring an end to the open Internet and end the free flow of information. The bills are also completely unnecessary. The entertainment and media firms lobbying for these censorship bills already have plenty of tools to protect their copyright.

Wikipedia is one of the websites going dark. Wikipedia has a good FAQ explaining the bill and why it is such a threat to online information. Wikipedia says the bill puts the free encyclopedia built by its contributors over the past ten years at risk.

For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia.
Google blacked out its logo today to protest the bills. Google says the bills will censor the Internet.
These bills would grant new powers to law enforcement to filter the Internet and block access to tools to get around those filters. We know from experience that these powers are on the wish list of oppressive regimes throughout the world. SOPA and PIPA also eliminate due process. They provide incentives for American companies to shut down, block access to and stop servicing U.S. and foreign websites that copyright and trademark owners allege are illegal without any due process or ability of a wrongfully targeted website to seek restitution.

Deadline reports the blackout is already having an impact, with influential Congressman and Senators dropping off the list of likely supporters. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) are just two major supporters that have backed off after seeing the avalanche of anger on the Internet against the bills.

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