24 Hours Blackout
Two bills before Congress, known as the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, would censor the Web and impose harmful regulations on American business. Millions of Internet users and entrepreneurs already oppose SOPA and PIPA.
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is a law (bill) of the United States proposed in 2011 to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods. Proposals include barring advertising networks and payment facilities from conducting business with allegedly infringing websites, barring search engines from linking to the sites, and requiring Internet service providers (ISP) to block access to the sites. The bill would criminalize the streaming of such content, with a maximum penalty of five (5) years in prison.
User-content websites such as YouTube would be greatly affected, and concern has been expressed that they may be shut down if the bill becomes law. Opponents state the legislation would enable law enforcement to remove an entire domain due to something posted on a single blog, arguing that an entire online community could be punished for the actions of a tiny minority. In a 1998 law, copyright owners are required to request the site to remove the infringing material within a certain amount of time. SOPA would bypass this "safe harbor" provision by placing the responsibility for detecting and policing infringement onto the site itself.
Lobbyists for companies that rely heavily on revenue from intellectual property copyright state it protects the market and corresponding industry, jobs, and revenue. The US president and legislators suggest it may kill innovation. Representatives of the American Library Association state the changes could encourage criminal prosecution of libraries. Other opponents state that requiring search engines to delete a domain name begins a worldwide arms race of unprecedented censorship of the Web and violates the First Amendment.
A number of protest actions were organized, including petition drives and boycotts of companies that support the legislation. On January 18, English Wikipedia and several other internet companies coordinated a service blackout to protest SOPA and PIPA