SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Wikipedia blacked out its website Wednesday while other major websites were protesting in other ways in an epic battle between Silicon Valley and Hollywood over online piracy.
The fight is over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), a pair of bills now stalled in Congress aimed at stopping the spread of pirated content such as movies and music.
Under the proposed legislation, your Internet provider would prevent your computer from visiting websites which link to other sites containing illegal content.
Wikipedia, Google, Craigslist, and others oppose the legislation, claiming that it is too broad.
Visitors to any Wikipedia page may see the content for about a second before getting redirected to a screen that says ‘imagine a world without free knowledge’ and a link to information about the two bills.
The screen also prompts visitors to input a zip code that would lead to a page listing the contact information for local congressmembers.
KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:
Craiglist put up a splash page of information on SOPA and PIPA, but linked to its regular website on the page.
Google has blacked out its logo on its home page, and added a link that says “tell Congress ‘please don’t censor the web'”.
Wednesday’s Internet protest is meant to get Washington’s attention, and it may be working.
The Obama administration has said it wants to work with Congress to stop the online piracy of movies and music, but the administration said that it is opposed to the way the bills are currently written because they limit internet freedom.
“There was controversy among the editors at Wikipedia who made this decision,” said Magid. “Some felt that it violated Wikipedia’s neutrality. But the prevailing thought was that even though Wikipedia’s articles are neutral, it has the right as an organization to take a stand, and apparently they feel very strongly about this issue.”
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