Tech companies have for months been voicing opposition to anti-piracy bills known as the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act. Today, some companies made their boldest moves yet in showing their objection to the bill. Hayley Tsukayama and Sarah Halzack report:
At the stroke of midnight Wednesday, large swaths of content that Web surfers have gotten used to looking up every day started disappearing.
Visitors to Wikipedia who are trying to search the encyclopedia’s usual trivia-filled pages are instead greeted by a shadowy “W” and a message saying, “Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge” — unless they type in the words SOPA or Protect IP ACT.
Craigslist isn’t imposing a blackout per se, but before searchers can access the classified listings they’re hit with a message asking them to tell their senators and congressmen to oppose two online piracy bills working their way through Capitol Hill.
The online blackout is part of a protest by popular Internet sites against the House’s Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). Companies argue that the bills would impose heavy regulatory costs, harm innovation, and give the government too much power to shut down Web sites accused of copyright violations even if they are later found to be innocent of the charges.