7000 + Websites Go Offline To Protest Proposed SOPA & PIPA Internet Censorship Bills [Video/Pics]


Video After The Jump


Via Huffington Post


Thousands of websites, including some of the most popular, are going dark today to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act, a bill which is designed to thwart copyright infringement but that Web experts warn could threaten the functionality of the Internet.


Encyclopedia giant Wikipedia, popular news-sharing site reddit, browser pioneer Mozilla, photo-sharing favorite Twitpic and even ICanHazCheezburger.com are blocking access to content throughout Wednesday, symbolizing what the bill may allow content creators to do to sites they accuse of copyright infringement. Other websites, including Google, are expressing solidarity with the protests by featuring anti-SOPA content on home pages.



The online protests are being joined by a physical demonstration in New York City, where thousands of representatives from the city's tech industry plan to demonstrate outside the offices of Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), co-sponsors of the Senate version of SOPA, beginning at 12:30 p.m. As pressure has mounted, both have expressed willingness to compromise.


SOPA would give both the government and major corporations the power to shut down entire websites accused of copyright infringement with neither a trial nor a traditional court hearing. The legislation is aggressively backed by Hollywood movie studios and major record labels, along with several major news providers, including Fox News and NBC-Universal, which have largely shied away from coverage of the bill.

The burst of opposition to SOPA and its Senate companion, Protect IP (or PIPA, for short), has caught many lawmakers, who thought they were endorsing a fairly non-controversial anti-piracy bill with strong corporate support, off guard. Senate co-sponsors of the bill regrouped on Tuesday, huddling in the Capitol with major industry backers of the bill.


In December, HuffPost reported that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a Protect IP co-sponsor with deep ties to both Hollywood and the technology industry, thought disputes between two of her most prominent corporate constituencies had been worked out. After that story ran, Feinstein attempted to broker a compromise, calling both tech companies and film studios.


Walt Disney Co. President and CEO Bob Iger declined the invitation on behalf of content providers. "Hollywood did not feel that a meeting with Silicon Valley would be productive at this time," said a spokesperson. The meeting took place with only tech companies present. Feinstein, once a reliable vote for the existing version of Protect IP, is now working hard to amend the bill, according to Senate Democratic aides.


But finding common ground is more difficult in this case than in most intra-corporate squabbles, because the two sides -- or powerful elements within them, at least -- have largely irreconcilable world views. One senior Senate aide said that the technology side consistently refuses to specify precise changes they want to the bill. Indeed, improving the bill would be counterproductive if the ultimate goal is killing it outright -- which it certainly is for many elements of the anti-SOPA coalition.


"That's a high-stakes risk," said the senior aide, "because if they don't have 41 votes, then what?"


By pitting nearly the entire tech industry against corporate Capitol Hill insiders from Hollywood, SOPA has prompted a tremendous wave of lobbying in Washington, accompanied by a flood of campaign contributions ahead of the 2012 elections. More than 1,000 lobbyists are currently registered to juice lawmakers on the bill.


The proposed legislation has startled tech experts and free speech advocates, who warn that the anti-piracy tactics envisioned by the bill would bring about widespread censorship of legitimate content and hamper important cybersecurity measures.


"The solutions are draconian. There’s a bill that would require [Internet service providers] to remove URLs from the Web, which is also known as censorship last time I checked," said Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt during a November speech.


The online blackout protests are rankling the Motion Picture Association of America, a lobbying group for the five biggest American film studios, which has lost significant support for its favorite bill in Washington over the past few months. MPAA Chairman Chris Dodd, a former Democratic senator from Connecticut and close friend of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), ripped the blackout in a Tuesday blog post, which tech advocates view as evidence that Hollywood is threatened by the effort.


"Some technology business interests are resorting to stunts that punish their users or turn them into their corporate pawns," wrote Dodd , who represents News Corp., Time-Warner, Sony and Disney. "It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and use their services. It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today."


"This is a signal that Hollywood is really rattled by these protests and worried about where this bill is heading," said Josh Levy, Internet campaign director for FreePress.org, a nonprofit media watchdog group.




Read the rest of the article HERE

Explanation of Sopa & Pipa Bills and what it would mean to you

Wikipedia and 1000's of other websites go offline in protest

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Comment by Jakez on January 21, 2012 at 2:08am
Occupy All Streets.
Comment by Tau on January 20, 2012 at 2:49pm
Comment by bronxricanguy on January 19, 2012 at 3:04pm
This is why we are occupying! To stop these bills from being passed! Occupy Wall st. Occupy Dallas, Occupy Nashville, Occupy The Bronx, Occupy Brooklyn, Occupy Trenton, Occupy Newark, Occupy Atlanta, Occupy Everywhere!
Comment by tohottie85 on January 19, 2012 at 1:10am
This is some real BS, I don't want this to happen, it's taking away our freedom.
Comment by BuckDat on January 19, 2012 at 12:02am
I think the only real change that will ever happen will come at a bloody price. They've had their grip too long and s**** already well in place. It'd have to be mass-rioting in the street and a bloody a** war for us to gain the power back. I try to be an optimist about it but with the Presidential thing, I've seen this movie before.
Also, this SOPA/PIPA thing is crazy. I'm actually quite Shocked that the media is SLIGHTLY doing its job and getting this out there, considering the major media outlets are in alignment with Hollywood. A couple months ago, when we stalled it with petitions (actually i think it ended up not having to be fillibustered)...but the real fight is just now beginning. We've actually lucked out thus far but I didn;t expect the word to get out AT ALL.
Comment by stacks on January 18, 2012 at 11:48pm
Well then s*** either way it's goin in a direction where to redo the system or jus stay on top of what's left of the constitution cuz its no point in sticking wit the federal reserve who print the money or fake politicians that since early 1900's been saying one thing n doin the other like s*** we creative enough why not create a new bett system for free people while we still have the power and chance like god never made a law saying we gotta follow these n***** rules we humans and we smart we don't have to stand for this we literally are just playing dumb like Emily b from love and hip hop and her relationship wit fab completely we could leave whenever we really done wit the bull s***
Comment by BuckDat on January 18, 2012 at 11:40pm
other than voting for Ron Paul, i'm pretty much in agreement though. But we've seen these kind of right wing Ron Paul guys before. If it wasn't for his record, most of his stances, and his alignment with the GOP and Republicans, it'd be a different story. And notice we haven't had any legit 3rd party candidates since Ralph Nader (who I supported) on a national level that got any media attention. They made sure to never let that happen again.
Comment by BuckDat on January 18, 2012 at 11:33pm
F*** a Ron Paul. People are only looking at a few of the libertarian stances of his while ignoring all his extreme right wing b*******. It's typical reactionary phoney balogney Anti-Imperialist crap that we've seen before. If you think he'd actually get into office and be some anti-new world order president, you're nuts. He'd be worse than a Sarah Palin, Santoram or a Bachman. He's as much of a Neo-con as the rest of them in the GOP.
Comment by stacks on January 18, 2012 at 10:47pm
@big lock that's the truth dog they jus taking advantage cuz most of the population playing dumb not payin attention to the snake in the grass
Comment by stacks on January 18, 2012 at 10:45pm
People think this new world order illuminati or elite controlled government s*** a joke But they slowly taking away freedom from us the people that pay all the taxes and basically fund the wars we don't want ! like what's it gonna take for people to wake up and pay attention all this pop music got us side tracked, its like damn the American life good and all until we ain't free no more we gotta maintain that s*** and somehow either protest the government and the big corporations or jus vote for Ron Paul and move away from the old system cuz the system just ain't working and the government only gon do what we let it and people also forget that cuz of the constitution we the people are actually the boss not the media or the corrupt a** government who we really need to fire and stop letting make all these nut a** decisions just like the cops that abuse the people who they forget pay the taxes that pay for them we just gotta keep our eyes open and say no to big government or government n general and just completely replace who there cuz it's crazy all this poverty s*** could change in a day it's all about who got control of the money

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