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Google, Mozilla, Wikipedia Fight SOPA Piracy Bill

Blacked-out websites and calls-to-action appear across the Web to protest proposed SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy bills.

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Google has blacked out its logo on its homepage to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT-IP Act (PIPA). In so doing, it joins with a handful of well-known websites and dozens of less well-known sites engaged in similar acts of protest.

"Like many businesses, entrepreneurs, and Web users, we oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking American companies to censor the Internet," a Google spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Wikipedia has taken similar steps, replacing its English website with a terse warning about the threat that SOPA and PIPA pose to the Internet .

[ Support for SOPA and PIPA appears to be diminishing in Congress. Read SOPA Stalling As Opposition Grows. ]

On Wednesday, Google published a post from chief legal officer David Drummond that argues against the two bills and asks visitors to petition Congress not to pass the legislation.

Mozilla, the maker of Firefox, has begun redirecting traffic from its main Mozilla.org and Mozilla.com English websites for 12 hours to a black page with a call-to-action message to make visitors aware of the problems posed by PIPA/SOPA.

"We hope the blackout of our US sites will help bring attention to this important issue and encourage users to educate themselves about PIPA and SOPA," the company said in an emailed statement, noting that Firefox users will not be affected.

SOPA and PIPA, drafted to provide intellectual property owners with more power to shut down websites, would drastically curtail free speech, magnify cybersecurity risks, and undermine the functioning of the Internet, according to critics.

Drummond argues that the two bills would limit due process, block access to tools used to circumvent censorship, and make it easier to sue law-abiding U.S. companies.

Legal experts Laurence Tribe and Marvin Ammori have contend that the two bills violate the Constitution.

Over the weekend, the White House published an online post on its website stating that it would not support the legislation, though it continues to support efforts to reduce abuse of intellectual property.

About this time, media tycoon Rupert Murdoch began tweeting broadsides--if Twitter can be forced to serve in a cannon metaphor--at Google for its public opposition to the bills. He called Google a "piracy leader." He has continued with this line of criticism, saying that the "blogosphere has succeeded in terrorizing many senators and congressmen who [were] previously committed [to SOPA and PIPA]."

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SkiMan01
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SkiMan01,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/20/2012 | 3:03:53 PM
re: Google, Mozilla, Wikipedia Fight SOPA Piracy Bill
Face it, we lost this battle "The Day the NAPSTER died" and our music along with it. We grumbled about trying to put the "big label" record industry out of business and then there was the big media blitz that sharing music is really robbing the artists of their due.

Skip a few years and Apple came out with the iPod. Jobs decided to get in bed with the record industry and collected billions of your dollars that your willfully threw at him. I immediately rejected the iPod when I got one, hooked it up to my computer and - as part of its synch function it deleted hundred of my songs. If you had stuff from very old CDs, it did not have a certain digital signature and Mr. iTunes assumed it was pirated and erased it. With that one experience, I swore I would have nothing to do with Apple, and I have not.

You probably are too young to remember, but there was a time when a few of us fought against the "helmet law" for motorcycles because it was simply "bad law" - even though wearing a helmet was a smart thing to do. Now we have laws that require helmets for bicycles and skate boards. Helmet laws for roller skates and even jobbers are coming soon from a government that does not know where to stop.

Similarly, seat belt laws are simply "bad law". Now, you cannot take your newborn home from the hospital unless your carseat model number is on the government approved list. Funny though, the one place where children do not wear seat belts is on government run school busses.

I can go on and on with examples, but you need to realize that NAPSTER led to companies like Apple willing to enforce its interpretation of the law which led to the Digital Millennium Copyright act which led to the net neutrality dust up and now SOPA and PIPA.

There is only one truth, right from the start, if you give up a part of your freedom to government protection, you lead to totalitarian rule. With government, the only middle ground is how long it takes to get there, and your throwing billions of dollars at iTunes guaranteed that we would wind up here today.
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