SOPA, PIPA What You Need To Know

SOPA, PIPA What You Need To Know: Having trouble using Wikipedia today? That’s because the popular crowd-sourced online encyclopedia is participating in an “Internet blackout” in protest of two controversial anti-piracy bills: The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senate companion, the Protect IP Act (PIPA).

The bills are intended to strengthen protections against copyright infringement and intellectual property theft, but Internet advocates say they would stifle expression the World Wide Web. In essence, the legislation has pitted content providers — like the music and film industries — against Silicon Valley.

“It’s not a battle of left versus right,” said progressive activist Adam Green, whose organization Progressive Change Campaign Committee on Tuesday hosted a press conference with opponents of the bills. “Frankly, it’s a battle of old versus new.”

Here’s a basic look at the actions taking place today and the legislation causing all the fuss.

What’s going on today?

The popular link-sharing site Reddit got the ball rolling for today’s 24-hour Internet blackout. In addition to Reddit and Wikipedia, other sites participating include BoingBoing, Mozilla, WordPress, TwitPic, MoveOn.org and the ICanHasCheezBurger network. Search giant Google is showing its solidarity with a protest doodle and message: “Tell Congress: Please don’t censor the web,” but the site planned no complete blackout.

Other sites — like Facebook and Twitter — oppose the legislation in question but aren’t participating in today’s blackout.

In addition to the Internet-based protests, some opponents are physically protesting on Wednesday outside of their congressional representatives’ offices. Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian said in Tuesday’s press conference it will “probably be the geekiest, most rational protest ever.” Continue Reading…

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