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Wikipedia, Reddit Going Dark in Protest of SOPA, PIPA

Many Web sites will shut down Wednesday in opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), currently under consideration by the U.S. Congress.

Among the Web sites going dark for a period of time on Jan. 18 will be Reddit, Wikipedia, Imgr, and BoingBoing. A growing  list of sites participating can be found here.

"If we do nothing, Congress will likely pass the Protect IP Act (in the Senate) or the Stop Online Piracy Act (in the House), and then the President will probably sign it into law,"  a Reddit spokesperson claimed, in a prepared statement. "There are powerful forces trying to censor the Internet, and a few months ago many people thought this legislation would surely pass. However, there's a new hope that we can defeat this dangerous legislation."

While Google will not be going dark, it has announced it will join the protest with a specially designed home page. It, along with Yahoo, Amazon, eBay, Bloomberg and others, have also banded together in a lobbying group called NetCoalition. The group launched a radio and newspaper campaign today to urge others to pressure their representatives to pull support for the two bills.

"The PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) would stifle innovation, chill investment in the thriving technology sector and censor free, lawful speech," wrote Markham Erickson, executive director of NetCoalition, in a statement. "Copyright infringement is a problem but PIPA and SOPA are not the solution."

The House of Representatives will continue its work on the SOPA bill, which is focused on curbing online piracy, through next month. The Senate will vote on how to proceed with its own version  (PIPA) bill on Jan. 24.

The Obama administration released a statement over the weekend in opposition to the legislation.

"While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet," read the statement.

Groups that include the Motion Picture Association of America, Microsoft, the American Federation of Musicians, the Screen Actors Guild and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce continue to support different versions of SOPA and/or PIPA.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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