Tech Giants Weigh Internet Blackout As Congress Weighs Internet Piracy Act

WASHINGTON D.C. (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Some of the Internet's biggest tech companies are lining up against the proposed, highly controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and are considering staging an Internet blackout of some of the most visited sites on the web.

The blackout, the so-called "nuclear option," has garnered support from 15 large tech companies including Google, Facebook, PayPal, Wikipedia, Twitter, & Amazon. While no firm plans have been announced, January 23rd – the day before the Senate deliberates on the bill – seems the most likely date for the action to take place.

SOPA, which has the support of the MPAA, the RIAA, major media outlets and labor unions as well as numerous corporate giants is designed to battle copyright trademark infringement on the web. The bill would allow the Justice Department and copyright holders to seek court orders against websites accused of enabling copyright infringement.

Such court orders could bar companies such as PayPal or online advertisers from doing business with an accused website, search engines such as Google from displaying links to an accused website in search results or ISPs continuing to host domains. The bill would have a dramatic impact on websites such as The Huffington Post and Reddit.com which are almost exclusively built around a content-linking model.

Supporters of SOPA claim that it will protect intellectual property and jobs across multiple industry sectors and that the legislation is vital in particular against foreign-owned websites participating in copyright infringement.

Critics contend that the proposed bill is overly broad, provides little recourse for the accused, infringes on First Amendment rights and amounts to Internet censorship.

Reddit.com in particular has been a vocal opponent of SOPA and Reddit's users have organized boycotts against companies supporting SOPA, such as domain name registration giant Godaddy.com, who helped to author the bill. The boycott appeared to be defective and after an outflow of domain names to other registrars, Godaddy has since backpedaled in its support of the bill.

Opponents of SOPA have advanced two alternative approaches that they believe would be less draconian; the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act and the equally controversial Protect IP Act (PIPA).

Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian's Bloomberg interview on SOPA.

Related Post