Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Web Blackout

Wikipedia and thousands of other websites went black Wednesday to protest two anti-piracy bills in Congress, and the dramatic virtual demonstration is already making an impact.
The protest quickly caught the attention of Net users across America and prompted a frenzy of media coverage and a flood of calls to lawmakers, while exacerbating the divide between Silicon Valley and Hollywood over the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the PROTECT IP Act in the Senate.

At the same time, signs pointed to a possible political shift on Capitol Hill. The latest to withdraw support was Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), once a co-sponsor of PIPA, who said Wednesday he has heard “legitimate concerns” since the bill cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee last year.

Rubio isn’t alone in defecting: Before the Internet protest even began, Arizona Republican Rep. Ben Quayle pulled his support of the House’s anti-piracy measure. And as Wikipedia, Reddit and other websites went dark, a spokesman for GOP Rep. Lee Terry told a local Nebraska newspaper that the congressman would withdraw his backing too.

So far near 8,000 websites have joined the protest, with various forms pf blackouts.

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