Wikipedia, Google, Others Protest SOPA

5 years 6 months 4 days ago January 18, 2012 Jan 18, 2012 Wednesday, January 18 2012 Wednesday, January 18, 2012 12:16:00 PM CST in News
By: Jared Launius

Google and Wikipedia were among several large websites that protested SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, Wednesday. 

SOPA is a bill making its way through the House that aims to monitor and stop pirated content from foreign sites accessed online in the United States. SOPA, introduced to the House in October by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), could, among other things, grant the Attorney General authority to hold liable websites that host or facilitate pirated content. 

That aspect is the subject being protested by over 150 confirmed websites, according to sopastrike.com, including Google, Wikipedia, reddit, Tumblr, Flickr and Vimeo, who fear being largely inhibited or – if the harshest penalty were enforced – shut down for content posted by users on their sites. 

A simlar bill, called PIPA (the Protect IP Act), is making its way through the Senate. PIPA's objectives are similar to SOPA's. 

President Obama released a statement last week stating the White House "...will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet."

Smith defended the bill to the Dallas Morning News today, stating that protestors have a misunderstanding of the bill, which aims to protect "American inventions and products." 

Rick Cotton, NBCUniversal Executive Vice President and General Counsel, defended the act Sunday on Up With Chris Hayes, starting around 5:20 in this video.

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Social Media website Facebook released a statement Wednesday, per an update from founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg's page: "The internet is the most powerful tool we have for creating a more open and connected world. We can't let poorly thought out laws get in the way of the internet's development. Facebook opposes SOPA and PIPA, and we will continue to oppose any laws that will hurt the internet."

Several websites are chiming in with anti-SOPA content, including Ape Con Myth, which released a flow chart mocking and explaining the bill. 

Social Media website Mashable published an editorial opining that SOPA would send us back to "The Dark Ages" before the Internet. 

YouTube user LaughPong published a parity song called "The Day LOLcats Died", which uses the tune of Don McLean's "American Pie" to criticize SOPA. 

According to the LA Times, three of the bills' supporters in Congress withdrew support today amid the public's protest. 

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