Wikipedia to move ahead with blackout to oppose Stop Online Piracy Act

By | 01.17.12 | 10:05 am

Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland (right) (Pic via Facebook)

Wikipedia, one of the opponents of the Stop Online Piracy Act that is moving through Congress, confirmed it will move ahead with a blackout Wednesday, despite the announcement that the measure will be shelved.

The Obama administration issued a statement Saturday in support of legislation to battle online piracy, but saying that it “will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.”

Wikipedia announced Monday that

in an unprecedented decision, the Wikipedia community has chosen to blackout the English version of Wikipedia for 24 hours, in protest against proposed legislation in the United States — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and PROTECTIP (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate. If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open Internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States.

According to Open Congress, the Stop Online Piracy Act (known as SOPA) would “establish a system for taking down websites that the Justice Department determines to be dedicated to copyright infringment. The DoJ or the copyright owner would be able to commence a legal action against any site they deem to have ‘only limited purpose or use other than infringement,’ and the DoJ would be allowed to demand that search engines, social networking sites and domain name services block access to the targeted site.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation says that the fight over the Act is far from over. Anonymous tweeted ”SOPA is NOT dead, just put aside for now. It WILL be back once the time is ‘right’. So don’t drop your support for SOPAblackout on J18!”

Filed by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, SOPA has the support of the movie and TV industry, Viacom, NBC, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO and major unions like the Teamsters and Electrical Workers. SOPA is co-sponsored by 31 members of the House, including Florida’s Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ted Deutch and Dennis Ross.

Internet companies Bloomberg, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Zynga and others support SOPA and PIPA but argue (.pdf) that the bills would “expose law-abiding U.S. Internet and technology companies to new uncertain liabilities, private rights of action, and technology mandates that would require monitoring of web sites.”

Six GOP co-sponsors of the Senate version of SOPA wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to express their concerns with Reid’s “decision to file cloture on the motion to proceed to the PROTECT IP Act,” adding that constituents and other stakeholders have voiced “concerns about possible unintended consequences of the proposed legislation, including breaches in cybersecurity, damaging the integrity of the Internet, costly and burdensome litigation, and dilution of First Amendment rights.”

Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio are co-sponsors of the Senate measure.

According to Free Press, “if passed, the ‘Stop Online Piracy Act,’ or SOPA (HR 3261), could rip apart the open fabric of the Internet. People could see their websites disappear from the Internet for a ‘crime’ as innocent as posting a video of themselves singing along to a favorite song.”

Follow Marcos Restrepo on Twitter


Comments

Switch to our mobile site