Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Major Media Blackout to Protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)

Here's what you need to know about two controversial internet anti-piracy bills moving through Congress and the massive backlash against them. January 17, 2012 Editor's Note: From 8am to 8pm today, AlterNet will be participating in the media blackout. Our front page visitors will be met not with our usual blend of content, but with links to information about SOPA and ways you can take action against it. Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia and sixth most visited site in the world, will join websites like the content aggregator Reddit to "go dark" today in opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its companion bill, the Protect IP Act (PIPA), which are currently being debated in Congress. "What these bills propose are new powers for the government and also for private actors to create, effectively, blacklists of sites that allegedly are engaging in some form of online infringement and then force service providers to block access to those sites," says Corynne McSherry, intellectual property director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "What we would have is a situation where the government and private actors could censor the net." Chief technology officials in the Obama administration have expressed concern about any "legislation that...undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet." But the bills’ main backers—Hollywood movie studios and music publishers—want to stop the theft of their creative content, and the bills have widespread bipartisan support. A vote on SOPA is on hold in the House now, as the Senate is still scheduled vote on PIPA next Tuesday. READ MORE

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