After several prominent Web sites went dark Wednesday to protest federal legislation aimed at stopping online piracy, support for the House and Senate bills appears to be waning. Here’s a quick rundown on the bills and where they stand in Congress.
What are the bills trying to do? The tech world is well-acquainted with the months-long battle over the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). But many Web users only learned about the bills during the blackout protest by Web sites such as Wikipedia, Reddit and WordPress.
The bills are are intended to narrowly address the problem of piracy on foreign Web sites. They differ slightly, but both measures grant the Justice Department the power to order “information location” services to remove links to Web sites that are suspected of pirating. Proponents of the legislation, including movie studios and recording companies, say that the bill protects American intellectual property and also protects consumers against counterfeit goods.