Today Wikipedia, Reddit, Boing Boing, and a number of other websites are blacking out their sites in their attempt to raise awareness about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) currently being debated in Congress.
The U.S. House of Representatives has now put the brakes on SOPA, a well-intentioned but deeply flawed bill that would use Internet censorship to combat overseas copyright infringement. Even President Obama’s White House has joined the opposition.
The Senate is continuing to move forward — and fast — with its equally dangerous version of the bill, called PIPA, the Protect-IP Act. As written, PIPA would import censorship and surveillance techniques pioneered by countries like China and Iran, reversing longstanding U.S. policy on Internet freedom, betraying U.S. First Amendment values, damaging our standing around the world, threatening our job-creating innovators, and undermining Internet security for everyone. (source)
This video discusses the Senate version of the PROTECT IP Act. It’ll give the government new powers to block Americans’ access to websites that corporations don’t like. The bill would criminalize posting all sorts of standard web content – especially music. (This is more than just YouTube removing a video for copyright infringement, it means potential criminal charges!)
This legislation will stifle free speech and innovation, and even threaten popular web services like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.
The video calls on Americans to act now to let their lawmakers know just how terrible it is, encouraging them to fill out this form.
Obviously, the interwebs are afire today to show strong opposition to these bills. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Amazon, Paypal, WordPress, Wikipedia, and pretty much the entire Internet community are opposed to these two pieces of legislation which could have devastating effects on the Internet through the ability of the government to shutdown websites and allowing major media companies to sue sites linking to proposed copyrighted content.
These two pieces of legislation will do little to curb piracy and potentially do a lot to change the structure and freedom of the Internet.
How far is too far?
Today is a day for action across the Internet. Learn about these destructive bills. Tell your Senator what you think. Congress needs to hear from you.