Wonder why you haven't been able to access info on some of your favorite websites today? You probably already know, because those sites are telling you about their protest of SOPA — the Stop Online Piracy Act, also known as H.R. 3261. That's the bill before the U.S. Senate that critics including Wikipedia say "could fatally damage the free and open Internet." Many of the protesting sites are also urging users to contact their senators.
Wikipedia and other online sites aren't the only ones opposing H.R. 3261. The American Society of Newspaper Editors had this to say of the bill: "It is our longstanding dedication to First Amendment rights that drives our opposition to SOPA. Navigating the balance between copyright and free speech demands precision, and in seeking to protect the interests of copyright holders, the First Amendment requires Congress to adopt the least restrictive intrusion on speech available."
The L.A. Times is reporting that the bill is already losing traction:
Three co-sponsors of the SOPA and PIPA antipiracy bills have publicly withdrawn their support as Wikipedia and thousands of other websites blacked out their pages Wednesday to protest the legislation.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) withdrew as a co-sponsor of the Protect IP Act in the Senate, while Reps. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) and Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.) said they were pulling their names from the companion House bill, the Stop Online Piracy Act. Opponents of the legislation, led by large Internet companies, say its broad definitions could lead to censorship of online content and force some websites to shut down.
In a posting on his Facebook page, Rubio noted that after the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed its bill last year, he has "heard legitimate concerns about the impact the bill could have on access to the Internet and about a potentially unreasonable expansion of the federal government's power to impact the Internet."
Read the entire article here.
And, here are just a few images from the blackout: