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If you visit any tech news sites, you might have heard about a pair of bills proposed in the United States called the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA).

These bills could give United States law enforcement the authority to go after international sites committing or facilitating intellectual property infringement by  obtaining court orders to block domain names. In addition, the bills would give IP holders the right to seek court orders against any payment providers, advertisers or search engines doing business with sites they believe infringe on their intellectual property.

SOPA, the version of the bill purposed in the House, was considered particularly insidious because its language allows government action again sites “committing or facilitating” infringement. Opponents are worried that, because the language is so broad, sites could be blocked or buried in a wave of court orders for nothing more than a link Check Your URL's With The Free Document Hyperlink Checker Check Your URL's With The Free Document Hyperlink Checker Read More to a site accused of infringement.

Fortunately, protests have been having an effect. The language asking for ISPs to block domain names has been eliminated (for now) and both SOPA and PIPA seem to be losing support in Congress, even among those who originally supported or proposed the legislation. But as the saying goes, it’s not over till it’s over. Today, January the 18th, sites like Wikipedia 5 Interesting But Useful Ways Of Using Wikipedia For Information Junkies 5 Interesting But Useful Ways Of Using Wikipedia For Information Junkies There are many ways to look at and browse through Wikipedia. From browser extensions and plugins to web apps that make browsing Wikipedia more than a scholarly exercise. The vast bank of human knowledge stored... Read More , Reddit and many others are protesting by “going dark” – eliminating access to their content.

If you’d like to join in the protest, and you have a Flickr account, you can do so by darkening your photos. If you have a Tumblr blog you can black that out as well. Finally, you can sign Google’s online petition. Or if you are a US citizen, take the direct approach and call your local Congressman or Senator and voice your strong opposition to the Bills. According to Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, the phone system in Congress has crashed due to the sheer volume of phone calls. So hopefully the politicians are currently feeling the heat, in what is an election year for some.


Source: Ars Technica

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  1. Chubonga
    January 19, 2012 at 12:26 am

    I don't know what you are trying to say but today is JANUARY the 18th. Also, this law is totally unconstitutional

    • Mark O'Neill
      January 19, 2012 at 9:31 am

      Oops, that's what I get for editing an article late at night when I am tired! ;-)  Thanks for spotting the error.

  2. Howard Pearce
    January 18, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Unfortunately many opponents of SOPA also seem to believe in the state regulating net neutrality :  the view that a monopolistic entity (the state) cane be trusted to exercise control over our Internet freedom to protect us from possible regulations from competing non-monopoly cable/ISP companies which no one is forced to buy their access from.