If you travel through the interwebs today, chances are good you will come across a site that has voluntarily gone black to protest SOPA and PIPA, two bits of proposed legislation in the United States. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) will be voted on in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) is in the U.S. Senate.
The sites believe that, if passed, both SOPA and PIPA will prove “devastating to the free and open web.” (Wikipedia).
The Electronic Frontier Foundation explains what the bills would do, and why their opponents—including Wikipedia, Google, EFF, the I Can Haz Cheezburger cluster of sites, Reddit, and BoingBoing, all of whom are going dark in protest today—believe the two bills are so destructive to free and accessible web content:
“The bill, if made law, would expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods
Proponents of the bill say it protects the intellectual property market and corresponding industry, jobs and revenue, and is necessary to bolster enforcement of copyright laws, especially against foreign websites.
Opponents say that it violates the First Amendment, is Internet censorship,will cripple the Internet, and will threaten whistle-blowing and other free speech actions.”
CBS News has an article also explaining the specifics.