Econintersect: Did you find one or more of your favorite sites shut down yesterday (January 18, 2012)? This was a demonstration of what might happen if laws proposed in the U.S. Congress were passed. SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act, HR 3261) has been introduced in the House of Representative and PIPA (Protect IP Act, S 968) in the U.S. Senate. The proposed laws were originally intended to prevent overseas websites from pirating U.S. copyright protected entertainment media such as music, movies and video. Opponents have claimed that the proposed laws are now so broad that the government and corporations would have the power to shut off just about anything on the internet without due process.
Opponents contend that, if passed, the government would have unprecedented censorship power and large corporations could systematically shutdown any start-up they wanted without due process. Yves Smith (Naked Capitalism) posted a strident Op Ed on the prospects a few days ago. Smith called the situation a nuclear weapon to kill a mouse.
Click on the image below to access a video which gives a complete four-minute description of what is at stake.
Below are some of the images seen today if you tried to access some of the protesting sites. Click on the first image below to see a list of more than 300 sites that particpated with blackout images displayed on January 18, including GOOGLE, Wikipedia and Mozilla. Although Global Economic Intersection is not of the list, we did display a larger version of the caption graphic for this article at the top of our News Blog all day.
The following is what visitors to Wikipedia saw:
And from Craig’s List:
Information Week now reports that there is rising opposition to SOPA and PIPA within the Congress and other parts of the government.
For access to petitions to Congress opposing the proposed laws, see GEI News (link below).