SOPA & PIPA
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Yesterday was a defining moment for the global Internet community. The effects of the massive online blackout in protest of U.S. Internet blacklist legislation , SOPA and PIPA (H.R. 3261 and S. 968) , were felt around the world as countless numbers of websites, including Google , Wikipedia , Mozilla , Reddit , BoingBoing , Flickr , Wired , and many others joined in the global action against over-broad and poorly drafted copyright laws that would break the fundamental architecture of the Internet. To quote [pdf] last year’s landmark Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Opinion: “...Censorship measures should never be delegated to a private entity, and [..] no one should be held liable for content on the Internet of which they are not the author...” The massive opposition from both companies and individuals around the world demonstrates how much these and similar laws would hurt business and innovation, and most importantly, restrict online free expression.
A screenshot of the English Wikipedia landing page, symbolically its only page during the blackout on January 18, 2012 On January 18, 2012, a series of coordinated protests occurred against two proposed laws in the United States Congress —the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). These followed smaller protests in late 2011.
Using a medium that helped organize protests against the legislation, Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, announced via Twitter that the vote would be delayed. But he indicated that the issue, which had been scheduled for a vote Tuesday, had not died. “There’s no reason that legitimate issues raised about PROTECT IP can’t be resolved,” he wrote, referring to the Senate bill by its shorthand name. “Counterfeiting & piracy cost 1000s of #jobs yearly. Americans rightfully expect to be fairly compensated 4 their work.
European digital chief Neelie Kroes has added her voice to protests against the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the US, as the backlash against the proposed legislation continues. Writing on her Twitter profile , Kroes, the European Commission's vice president for the Digital Agenda, wrote that the law would threaten the basic foundation of the success of the web. "Speeding is illegal too: but you don't put speed bumps on the motorway," she added. Kroes has previously criticised attempts by governments across the European Union to stop online piracy as a waste of money . She added that they have also turned consumers against copyright protection. "We need to keep on fighting against piracy, but legal enforceability is becoming increasingly difficult.
The founder of the world wide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has launched a scathing attack on the controversial SOPA and PIPA legislation being pushed through in the US, arguing it is a threat to the core values of the web. Speaking exclusively to V3 at IBM's Lotusphere event in Florida, the W3C director explained that SOPA posed a grave threat to the openness of the internet and had to be stopped. "The laws have been put together to allow an industry body to ask the government to turn off a web site and the government can make people turn off the site without trial," he told V3 . "There are times when that could be very powerful and damaging, like before an election and it is crossing a line and we have to protect the internet as an open space, we have to respect it." Berners-Lee praised the work of Google in censoring its logo and Wikipedia for shutting down access to its site as helping draw attention to the issue in the US. "Folks in the UK should not be complacent.
On Wednesday, some of the Internet's largest entities blacked out their websites -- or their logos or some of their content -- in a protest against the SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy bills making their way through Congress. If you're wondering whether all of this had an effect, the answer is yes. Big time. Wikipedia, the largest Web player to block access to its pages for a full 24 hours, reports that a whopping 162 million people experienced the blackout on the online encyclopedia's landing page. In addition, 8 million U.S. readers took Wikipedia's suggestion and looked up their congressional reps from the site. Google reported Wednesday that as of 1:30 PM PST, 4.5 million people had signed its petition asking lawmakers to reject the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the Protect Intellectual Property Act in the Senate.
Today was a truly inspiring day in Internet history. Working together, we sent a powerful message to Big Media and the misguided proponents of the Internet blacklist legislation : we will not stand idly by and let you h amper innovation, kill jobs, wreak havoc on Internet security, and undermine free speech. Supporters of SOPA and PIPA say the Internet Blackout day was a "publicity stunt." We say it was a wake-up call.
Mario Tama/Getty Images Protesters demonstrated on Wednesday against the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect I.P. Act. But that protest grew out of a much wider grass-roots movement — a collective flexing of Internet muscle that started in some of the less mainstream parts of the Web, like the social news site Reddit and the blogging service Tumblr, and in e-mail chains and countless message boards.
By Jane Watkinson The internet, what the founder of the World Wide Web (WWW) – Sir Tim Berners-Lee – said is a human right, is locked in a battle with the US Congress as Senate debate the Protect Intellectual Property Act and the House of Representatives consult over the Stop Online Piracy Act. The Acts represent an attack on internet freedom.
18 January 2012 Last updated at 03:12 ET Wikipedia has taken its English-language site offline as part of protests against proposed anti-piracy laws in the US. Users attempting to access the site see a black screen and a political statement: "Imagine a world without free knowledge." The user-generated news site Reddit and the blog Boing Boing are also taking part in the "blackout". However, Twitter has declined to join the shutdown. Wikipedia, which attracts millions of hits every day, is opposed to the US Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (Pipa) being debated by Congress.
17 January 2012 Last updated at 12:45 GMT The US laws are designed to block pirate sites, but critics say it will also impact the wider net The Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) is the bill being considered by the House of Representatives. The Protect Intellectual Property Act (Pipa) is the parallel bill being considered by the Senate.