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Protest on Web Uses Shutdown to Take On Two Piracy Bills
Published: January 17, 2012
Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and author the Protect IP Act, accused opponents Tuesday of trying to “stoke fear” through tactics like the Wikipedia blackout. “Protecting foreign criminals from liability rather than protecting American copyright holders and intellectual property developers is irresponsible, will cost American jobs, and is just wrong,” he said in a statement.
Opponents of the legislation have clearly seized the momentum in the debate. Their protests have gained traction in that key provisions were stripped out of one bill and the Obama administration has raised concerns. Legislators have already agreed to delay or drop one ire-inducing component of the bills, Domain Name System blocking, which would prevent access to sites that were found to have illegal content.
A total of 115 companies and organizations have lobbyists working on the antipiracy bills, spending millions of dollars to sway the outcome, according to federal disclosure records. They include corporate and technology giants on both sides of the legislation, with entertainment groups like News Corporation and the Recording Industry Association of America backing it and Internet firms like Google and Facebook raising concerns about it.
The largest advocates for the bills disagree with the tech industry’s main rallying cry, which is the notion that they will hurt the average Internet user or interfere with their online activities.
“The bill will not harm Wikipedia, domestic blogs or social network sites,” said Representative Lamar Smith, Republican of Texas and a primary sponsor of the House bill.
Most people in the tech world agree that the problem of piracy needs to be addressed. But they say their main concern is that the tech industry had little influence on the language of the legislation, which is still in flux and so broadly worded that it is not entirely clear how Internet businesses will be affected. Big Internet companies say the bills could prevent entire Web sites from appearing in search results — even if the sites operate legally and most content creators want their videos or music to appear there.
“It shouldn’t apply to U.S. Web sites, but any company with a server overseas or a domain name overseas could be at risk,” said Andrew McLaughlin, vice president at Tumblr, a popular blogging service.
Read the rest of this insightful article here: NY Times – Protest on Web Uses Shutdown to Take On Two Piracy Bills
And I beg of you, please take action in some way. The internet as we know it is at stake, and that’s not just a cheesy line for effect. It’s truth.
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