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Archive for the ‘Piracy’ Category

PIPA anti-piracy bill vote postponed in Senate

posted by Technology @ 7:51 AM
Friday, January 20, 2012

Next week's scheduled vote on the PIPA anti-piracy bill has been postponed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Next week's scheduled vote on the PIPA anti-piracy bill has been postponed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, handing a defeat to Hollywood and a major victory to Internet companies that launched online protests to battle the legislation and its House companion, known as SOPA.

"In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the Protect IP Act," Reid (D-Nev.) said Friday. He called for all sides to work together to resolve "legitimate issues" raised about the bill to crack down on foreign websites that traffic in pirated movies, music and other goods.

"Counterfeiting and piracy cost the American economy billions of dollars and thousands of jobs each year, with the movie industry alone supporting over 2.2 million jobs. We must take action to stop these illegal practices," Reid said. "We made good progress through the discussions we've held in recent days, and I am optimistic that we can reach a compromise in the coming weeks."

Wikipedia led a 12-to-24-hour blackout by more than 10,000 websites on Wednesday in protest of the proposed Protect Intellectual Property Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act. The sites directed people to contact their members of Congress, flooding Capitol Hill with calls and emails.

The bills are strongly backed by the entertainment industry and had been on a fast track to approval, with the Senate set to hold a key procedural vote on Tuesday. But the protests led several co-sponsors of the legislation to pull their support, with numerous other lawmakers vowing to oppose the legislation in its current form out of concern that it could squelch free speech on the Internet and lead to the shutdown of legitimate sites.

RELATED:

MegaUpload file sharing site shut down for piracy by Feds

Click here to find out more!SOPA and PIPA opponents warn the bills are not dead yet

Uproar over proposed bills delays answer to Internet piracy

– Jim Puzzanghera in Washington

 

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MegaUpload, one of the world's largest file-sharing websites, was shut down Thursday by the U.S. Department of Justice, which accused it of violating piracy and copyright laws.

  In an indictment, the Justice Department alleged that MegaUpload was a "mega conspiracy" and a global criminal organization "whose members engaged in criminal copyright infringement and money laundering on a massive scale."

The Justice Department said MegaUpload, which had about 150 million users, tallied up harm to copyright holders in excess of $500 million by allowing users to illegally share movies, music and other files. Prosecutors said in the indictment that the site's operators raked in an income from it that topped $175 million.

Justice Department indictment of MegaUpload DOCUMENT: Read the indictment against MegaUpload

MegaUpload was just one of the many services that allow for the easy sharing of large files online. Others include sites such as Mediafire and Rapidshare and cloud storage services that allow for shared folders such as Box.net and Dropbox.

One way MegaUpload differentiated itself was with its online marketing campaign that featured celebrities such as rapper/producers Kanye West, Lil' Jon, Sean "Diddy" Combs and Swizz Beats stating in YouTube videos why they loved using the site. Other videos feature tennis star Serena Williams, boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., Def Jam Records founder Russell Simmons and director Brett Ratner testifying to their use of MegaUpload.

The release of the Justice Department indictment came after dozens of websites, led by tech heavyweights Wikipedia, Craigslist, Mozilla and Google, altered their websites to protest two anti-piracy bills under consideration on Capitol Hill: the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).

Critics of the bills say the proposed laws would give the Justice Department the ability to censor the Internet by giving the agency clearance to shut down a site without having to get court approval of an indictment, as it did with MegaUpload. Although the indictment was unsealed Thursday, it was issued by a federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia on Jan. 5, the agency said.

In a statement issued with the indictment,the Justice Department said "this action is among the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought by the United States and directly targets the misuse of a public content storage and distribution site to commit and facilitate intellectual property crime."

The Justice Department said that at its request, authorities arrested three MegaUpload executives — officially employed by two companies, Megaupload Ltd. and Vestor Ltd. — in New Zealand, including the site's founder, Kim Dotcom, who was born Kim Schmitz. The agency is also looking to arrest two additional executives.

The indictment charges the two companies with running a "racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement."

According to the Associated Press, before the MegaUpload site was shut down Thursday, a statement was posted on the site saying the allegations made against it were "grotesquely overblown" and that "the vast majority of Mega's Internet traffic is legitimate, and we are here to stay. If the content industry would like to take advantage of our popularity, we are happy to enter into a dialogue. We have some good ideas. Please get in touch."

Visits to Megaupload.com on Thursday showed the website as unable to load. The Justice Department had ordered the seizure of 18 domain names it linked to the alleged wrongdoing.

[Updated at 3:42 p.m.: As noted by Times reporter Ben Fritz on our sister blog Company Town, the hacker group Anonymous has allegedly lobbed a denial-of-service attack that has temporarily taken down the websites for the Department of Justice and Universal Music as a move in retaliation for the shutdown of MegaUpload. Forbes is reporting that the same attack has struck the sites for the Recording Industry of America and the Motion Picture Assn. of America.]

[Updated at 3:50 p.m.: The Twitter accounts @YourAnonNews and @AnonOps are taking credit on behalf of Anonymous for the web attacks on the websites of the Justice Department, Recording Industry of America, Motion Picture Assn. of America and Universal Music.]

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Wikipedia: SOPA protest led 8 million to look up reps in Congress

– Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

twitter.com/nateog

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Wikipedia: SOPA protest led 8 million to look up reps in Congress

posted by Technology @ 11:42 AM
Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wikipedia_blackout_page
On Wednesday, some of the Internet's largest entities blacked out their websites — or their logos or some of their content — in a protest against the SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy bills making their way through Congress.

If you're wondering whether all of this had an effect, the answer is yes. Big time.

Wikipedia, the largest Web player to block access to its pages for a full 24 hours, reports that a whopping 162 million people experienced the blackout on the online encyclopedia's landing page. In addition, 8 million U.S. readers took Wikipedia's suggestion and looked up their congressional reps from the site.

Google reported Wednesday that as of 1:30 PM PST, 4.5 million people had signed its petition asking lawmakers to reject the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the Protect Intellectual Property Act in the Senate.

Twitter said 2.4 million SOPA-related tweets were sent in the first 16 hours of the day Wednesday. The top five terms were SOPA, Stop SOPA, PIPA, Tell Congress, #factswithoutwikipedia.

WordPress reports that at least 25,000 WordPress blogs had joined the SOPA and PIPA protest by blacking out their blogs entirely, and an additional 12,500 had posted a "Stop Censorship" ribbon.

“The Wikipedia blackout is over and the public has spoken,” Sue Gardner, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, said in a statement. “162 million of you saw our blackout page asking if you could imagine a world without free knowledge. You said no. You shut down the congressional switchboards, and you melted their servers. Your voice was loud and strong.”

RELATED:

Bloggers in China sound off on SOPA blackout

SOPA blackout: Bills lose three co-sponsors amid protests

SOPA blackout: Who’s gone dark to protest anti-piracy bills? [Updated]

– Deborah Netburn

Photo: A laptop in London shows Wikipedia's protest page on Wednesday. Credit: Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

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SOPA and PIPA opponents warn the bills are not dead yet

posted by Technology @ 11:21 AM
Thursday, January 19, 2012

PIPA protesters
A day after a widespread Internet protest, key opponents of SOPA and PIPA warned Thursday that the controversial online piracy bills are not dead yet and called for lawmakers to slow down and start over.

"It's not dead at all," said Michael Petricone, vice president of government affairs for the Consumer Electronics Assn., noting that the Senate was still scheduled to hold a procedural vote on the Protect Intellectual Property Act on Tuesday.

At a Capitol Hill news conference, Petricone and others said opponents needed to continue to pressure Congress to remove the legislation from the fast track and start a more open process to craft a narrower bill that would not threaten collateral damage on legitimate websites.

“You have all kinds of very substantive, very smart interests who are bringing up very substantive potential problems with this bill," Petricone said. "Why can’t we step back and get it right? This isn’t the Patriot Act; the country’s not going to blow up if we don’t enact this next week."

Lawmakers' ears were still ringing from the thousands of calls and emails that flooded into Capitol Hill after Wikipedia led about 10,000 websites in a 24-hour blackout Wednesday to protest the bills. At least five co-sponsors of the bills publicly pulled their support, with several others announcing they would not vote for the legislation without major changes.

The lead sponsors of the bills have promised to make changes and are expected to remove the most controversial provision, which would allow Internet service providers to block access to foreign-based piracy sites. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the lead backer of PIPA, is working on a set of amendments he plans to unveil before Tuesday's vote.

The cautions about the fight not being over were echoed by Wikipedia, whose English-language version was easily accessible again Thursday. A banner at the top of the site reads, "Thank you for protecting Wikipedia. (We're not done yet)."

"SOPA and PIPA are not dead: they are waiting in the shadows," Wikipedia said on a page linked from that banner. "We’re turning the lights back on. Help us keep them shining brightly."

Markham Erickson, who heads a coalition of Internet companies, said Congress needed to take more time to get the legislation right.

"There are solutions, but we need to step back and reset," said Erickson, whose NetCoalition includes Google Inc., Amazon.com, EBay and Yahoo Inc. "Instead of having to negotiate with a gun to our head,  so to speak, let’s sit down and have a data-driven process."

He and other SOPA and PIPA opponents are looking toward legislation introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who have been two of the strongest congressional opponents of the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act.

Their Online Protection & Enforcement of Digital Trade Act, known as the OPEN Act, is a much narrower approach that would try to cut off the money to foreign piracy sites through the U.S. International Trade Commission. The entertainment industry and other supporters of SOPA and PIPA said such an approach would not be as effective in shutting down foreign piracy sites.

But opponents of SOPA and PIPA said they liked the process Issa and Wyden have used in crafting their bill. The two lawmakers released a draft last year at www.KeepTheWebOpen.com and said they revised it to reflect some of the more than 150 substantive comments and suggested improvements received from visitors to the site.

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The Internet flexes its muscles with blackout

Bloggers in China sound off on SOPA blackout

Blackout: Sites gone dark to protest anti-piracy bills

– Jim Puzzanghera in Washington

Photo: Protesters in New York on Wednesday demonstrate against the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect Intellectual Property Act. Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

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Bloggers in China sound off on SOPA blackout

posted by Technology @ 2:44 AM
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Bloggers in China sound off on SOPA blackout

Watching from China, where Web censorship is practically a national hallmark, some can't help but smirk and crack jokes about the controversy raging over Internet freedom in the U.S.

"Now the U.S. government is copying us and starting to build their own firewall," wrote one micro-blogger, relating China's chief censorship tool to the U.S. plan to block sites that trade in pirated material.

The Relevant Organs, an anonymous Twitter account (presumably) pretending to be the voice of the Chinese communist leadership, quipped: "Don't understand the hoopla over Wikipedia blackout in the U.S. today. We blacked it out here years ago. Where are OUR hugs?"

PHOTO: Sites gone dark to protest anti-piracy bills

Humor aside, the brouhaha has generated some strong opinions in the country that  Google fled, not the least because opponents of the SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy bills are conjuring Chinese Web censorship to promote their case.

The consensus here, however, appears to be this: Americans should try a minute in our shoes before invoking online Armageddon.

If anything, Chinese bloggers say, the debate underscores how privileged U.S. Web users and Internet companies are, even in times of duress.

"Only an American company could protest the way Wikipedia or Google has to the government," said Zhao Jing, a closely followed blogger in Beijing who uses the pen name Michael Anti. "A Chinese company would never get away with that."

Indeed, China's Internet sector has no choice but to submit to government pressure -– be it by censoring its own users or implementing whatever happens to be the state initiative of the moment (the latest may require the real-ID registration of 250 million micro-blog accounts despite threats to privacy and the cost burden on Web firms).

Another distinction Chinese activists note is that the proposed legislation in Washington is being debated openly in public and ultimately has to adhere to U.S. law. Chinese censorship, on the other hand, operates in an opaque space where no one really knows what's banned, what isn't and who is calling the shots.

"It's hard for people in the U.S. to understand Internet censorship in China," said Wen Yunchao, a prominent blogger and outspoken government critic who left mainland China recently for Hong Kong. "In China, all the government decisions are done in a dark box. No one knows what's going on. There's never any legal reason cited. If these laws are passed in the U.S., every step of the way it will be more transparent. People can challenge it. There's no comparison when it comes to censorship in China and in the U.S."

Still, Wen supports U.S. activists challenging the bills, saying it's a slippery slope to lesser Web access. He said China's so-called Great Firewall, which blocks access to many foreign sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, was first billed as a strategy to stop piracy and pornography.

"Now it's being abused and extended to thousands of websites," he said.

Ironically, China's 513 million Web users have relatively free access when it comes to the very sites targeted by the proposed Protect Intellectual Property Act and Stop Online Piracy Act. Those include BitTorrent sites such as Extratorrent and sellers of counterfeit goods such as Taobao.

"The Chinese Great Firewall is not targeting pirated material," said Beijing-based Jason Ng, another popular blogger who has 29,000 Twitter followers. "Look at the Chinese Internet space and it's all about pirated movies, TV and porn. Everyone just wants to enjoy and be entertained. If the government cut all that off, they'd have a serious problem on their hands."

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Number of Web users in China hits 513 million

SOPA blackout: How many have joined the fight?

Google says 4.5 million people signed anti-SOPA petition today

– David Pierson
twitter.com/dhpierson

Photo: A Google search page awaits input from a user at an Internet cafe in Beijing. Credit: Alexander F. Yuan / Associated Press

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SOPA blackout: How many have joined the fight?

posted by Technology @ 2:50 PM
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Google.com on Wednesday Jan 18

There's something awesome and kind of a folksy feeling about today's first semi-coordinated online protest against anti-piracy bills that have been circulating around Congress.

But how many people have actually been moved to action?

That's where the kind of coordinated-ness of it all gets a little annoying. Almost all of the striking websites suggest visitors take some sort of action against the bill — some recommend you get in touch with your congressional representative to express your opposition to SOPA and PIPA,  others ask users to sign a petition expressing their concern over the bills.

PHOTOS: Sites on strike

But even these petitions are not centralized, so it's difficult to tally how many people have been moved to participate.

Here's what we have been able to gather, as of this writing:

48,882 people have liked the Against the Stop Online Piracy Act page on Facebook.

Google is reporting more than 3 million Americans have signed various petitions opposing SOPA.

51,689 signed a petition on the White House's website We the People, asking the Obama administration to veto SOPA.

1.4 million people worldwide signed a "Save the Internet" petition on the activist website Avaaz.org

BlackoutSOPA.org is reporting that 68,620 people have changed either their Twitter, Google+ or Facebook profile picture to feature an anti-SOPA message.

Fight for the Future, a nonprofit, is reporting that 75,000 sites have signed up to participate in the protest, and that between its two sites Sopastrike.com and AmericanCensorship.org, 350,000 people have sent emails sent to their two senators and their representatives.

We'll keep updating as we learn more.

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SOPA blackout: Who’s gone dark to protest anti-piracy bills?

Wikipedia still accessible during SOPA blackout — with a little effort

– Deborah Netburn

Image: A screen shot of Google's anti-SOPA home page.

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Photo: Poeple meetup in an event organized by the group New York Tech Meetup to protest against proposed laws to curb Internet piracy outside the offices of U.S. Democratic Senators from New York Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012. Schumer and Gillibrand are co-sponsors of the Senate bill PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act). SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) is the US House version. Credit: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

The protests against the House's Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate's Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) spread from the Web into the streets of New York on Wednesday.

According to the New York Times, the New York Daily News, USA Today, Cnet and Mashable, hundreds (and maybe thousands) of people organized by the group New York Tech Meetup protested in person and with signs against SOPA and PIPA outside of the offices of New York Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both Democrats.

The group, which reportedly has about 20,000 members, targeted Schumer and Gillibrand for the protest because the two are co-sponsors of PIPA. The protesters, which police corralled into metal barriers on a sidewalk in front of the senators' Manhattan offices, called for Schumer and Gillibrand to withdraw their support for PIPA — a move a few politicians took on Wednesday amid the widespread online actions against the proposed laws.

Similar protests were also planned Wednesday in San Francisco, Seattle, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C.

While lawmakers in support of SOPA and PIPA have said that the bills are written to protect against online piracy and theft of American-made films, TV shows, music and other digital goods, those against the bills say the legislation would open the door to online censorship that would essentially ruin the free flow of information on the Web.

PHOTOS: Sites on strike

Andrew Rasiej, chairman of the New York Tech Meetup, told the New York Daily News that not only would SOPA and PIPA open the door to censorship of the Internet, but the laws would also have negative effects on the ability of the U.S. to remain a leader in the global tech industry.

"Because a new innovation by a start-up could be interpreted by a judge unfamiliar with how the technology works as infringing on copyright, investors and entrepreneurs would be discouraged from moving forward with a start-up due to a significantly increased risk of legal entanglement," Rasiej told the New York Daily News. "This in turn would dampen job creation and future opportunities for New Yorkers and Americans as a whole."

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More opponents of PIPA and SOPA emerge on the right

SOPA blackout: Bills lose three co-sponsors amid protests

SOPA blackout: Who’s gone dark to protest anti-piracy bills?

– Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

twitter.com/nateog

Photo: People gather outside the offices of two U.S. senators from New York, including Sen. Charles "Chuck" Schumer,  to protest against proposed laws to curb Internet piracy. Credit: Stan Honda / AFP/Getty Images

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Wired

Wednesday, Jan. 18: the day of the SOPA "blackout" protest. As you may have seen from our coverage, major names in the online world such as Google, Wikipedia, Mozilla and Reddit are censoring their own websites with black bars and blacked-out pages in protest of SOPA and PIPA, two online anti-piracy bills currently under consideration on Capitol Hill.

Lawmakers who support the bills say the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act will protect the intellectual property rights of music, movie and TV studios. But the websites and tech giants taking part in the Wednesday blackout argue that SOPA and PIPA would allow for a censoring of the Internet that would forever alter the Web and what we can do, say and publish online.

And it's not just Silicon Valley that's protesting SOPA and PIPA in the day-long blackout — a few publications that cover the tech world are taking part as well, including Wired and ArsTechnica.

Here's a list of more than 30 websites (and screen shots of each) we've spotted that are protesting today in the form of full-on blackouts or even just making their anti-SOPA and anti-PIPA stances known publicly. If there are a few we've missed, feel free to let us know in the comments.

Wikipedia.org

Wikipedia's English website

Google.com

Google.com

Craigslist.org

Craigslist- inland empire classifieds for jobs, apartments, personals, for sale, services, community, and events

Mozilla Firefox's start page

Mozilla Firefox Start Page

BoingBoing.net

Boingboing

Reddit.com

Reddit

ArsTechnica.com

ArsTechnica

Wired.com

Wired

TheVerge.com

TheVerge

OReilly.com

O'Reilly Media - Stop SOPA

TechCrunch.com

TechCrunch

MoveOn.org

MoveOn.org- CENSORED

WordPress.com

WordPress

Xkcd.com

XkcdSOPA

Fark.com

Fark

4Chan.com

4chanSports

GigaOm.com

GigaOM

FunnyOrDie.com

Funny or Die - Funny Videos, Funny Pictures, and Funny Jokes

PerezHilton.com

Celebrity gossip juicy celebrity rumors Hollywood gossip blog from Perez Hilton

GoDaddy.com

Go Daddy & Many Other Internet Leaders Oppose SOPA & PIPA - Go Daddy Blog - Go Daddy Support

KnowYourMeme.com

Internet Meme Database - Know Your Meme

Imgur.com

Imgur

BoardgameGeek.com

BoardGameGeek

Newgrounds.com

Newgrounds.com

UrbanSpoon.com

Los Angeles Restaurants - Urbanspoon

DemocraticUnderground.com

Democratic Underground Is Offline To Protest SOPA And PIPA. Stop The Internet Blacklist Legislation!

JoinDiaspora.comStrike Against SOPA & PIPA

Heritage.org

HeritageFoundation

GameBreaker.tv

Gamebreakerdottv

Pocho.com

Pocho

RateYourMusic.com

Rateyourmusic

SparkFun.com

SparkFunElectronics

DayTrader.com

DayTrader

TextsFromLastNight.com

Texts From Last Night

[Updated 12:29 p.m.: GigaOm.com is also against SOPA and PIPA, and on Wednesday the news site let that stance be known.]

[Updated 2:49 p.m.: Added the Jan. 18 anti-SOPA and PIPA protests on FunnyOrDie.com, PerezHilton.com, GoDaddy.com, KnowYourMeme.com, Imgur.com, BoardgameGeek.com, Newgrounds.com, UrbanSpoon.com, DemocraticUnderground.com and JoinDiaspora.com.]

[Updated 3:15 p.m.: Added the anti-SOPA and PIPA Jan. 18 stances seen on Heritage.org, GameBreaker.tv, Pocho.com, RateYourMusic.com and SparkFun.com.]

[Updated 4:51 p.m.: Added DayTrader.com's blacked-out Jan. 18 homepage.]

RELATED:

More opponents of PIPA and SOPA emerge on the right

SOPA blackout: Bills lose three co-sponsors amid protests

SOPA anti-piracy bill markup to resume next month, lawmaker says

– Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Twitter.com/nateog

Images: Screenshots (made using the Mac app LittleSnapper) of websites taking part in the Jan. 18, 2011 protests against SOPA and PIPA by either blacking out their websites, or publishing statements condemning the controversial anti-piracy bills.

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SOPA blackout: Bills lose three co-sponsors amid protests

posted by Technology @ 11:19 AM
Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sen. Marco Rubio

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."

PHOTOS: Sites on strike

"Congress should listen and avoid rushing through a bill that could have many unintended consequences," Rubio said in announcing he was withdrawing his support. While he's committed to stopping online piracy, Rubio called for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to back off plans to hold a key procedural vote on the bill on Tuesday.

Rubio's withdrawal will reduce the number of co-sponsors to 39. Last week, two other co-sponsors, Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), joined four other Senate Republicans in a letter to Reid also urging him delay the vote. But Grassley and Hatch have not withdrawn their support.

Terry and Quayle were among the 31 sponsors of the House legislation before they withdrew their support Tuesday.

Quayle still strongly supports the goal of the House bill to crack down on foreign websites that traffic in pirated movies, music, medicine and other goods.

"The bill could have some unintended consequences that need to be addressed," said Quayle spokesman Zach Howell. "Basically it needs more work before he can support it."

Terry said that he also had problems with the House bill in its current form and would no longer support it.

Wikipedia, Reddit and about 10,000 other websites blacked out their pages Wednesday with messages warning of the dangers of the legislation and urging people to contact their congressional representatives. Howell said Quayle's office had not seen a major increase in calls or emails Wednesday, but that the piracy bills have been the main issue in recent weeks for people contacting the office.

There has been a "manageable increase" in visits to House member websites Wednesday, said Dan Weiser, a spokesman for the House office of the chief administrative officer.

"It’s possible some users will see a short delay or slow loading of a member's web page," he said.

RELATED:

More opponents of PIPA and SOPA emerge on the right

SOPA blackout: Who’s gone dark to protest anti-piracy bill?

Wikipedia still accessible during SOPA blackout — with a little effort

– Jim Puzzanghera in Washington

Photo: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Credit: Joe Burbank / Orlando Sentinel

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SOPA blackout: Wikipedia still accessible — with a little effort

posted by Technology @ 9:19 AM
Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wikipedia blackout

Wikipedia is the biggest name among the approximately 10,000 websites that pledged to go dark Wednesday in a broad Internet protest of the SOPA and PIPA online anti-piracy bills. But word has quickly spread about how to circumvent the blackout.

Visitors to Wikipedia's English-language site — either directly to its homepage or via a link from a search engine query — are diverted in seconds to a dark page that asks people to "Imagine a world without free knowledge." There's a couple of sentences about threat from the bills, and a box to enter your ZIP code to help contact your member of Congress about the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect-IP Act.

Mashable.com lists a couple of ways to bypass the blackout screen and get to Wikipedia's pages.

PHOTOS: Sites on strike

The easiest is to go to Wikipedia's mobile version, which is not being blacked out. You don't have to use a mobile device to do it. The mobile version is available via your Web browser at en.m.wikipedia.org.

There's a black bar at the top that notes the piracy protest, but the rest of the site is fully accessible.

Another easy workaround is the Simple English version of Wikipedia, which is designed for children and adults learning the language. It's not as extensive as Wikipedia's main site, but could be helpful for youngsters working on school projects.

The Village Voice offers another alternative. Wikipedia's foreign-language sites — with dozens of options, from Afrikaans to Zeêuws — are not participating in the blackout and are open for surfing if you're multilngual or have quick access to Rosetta Stone.

RELATED:

SOPA blackout shows little hope of peace with Hollywood

Websites flexing muscle in push against online piracy bills

Websites going black to protest anti-piracy bills in Congress

– Jim Puzzanghera in Washington

Photo: A laptop in London shows Wikipedia's protest page on Wednesday. Credit: Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

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House Judiciary Committee members John Conyers and Lamar Smith

One day before major players in the online community plan to launch a virtual protest against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) making its way through Congress, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) issued a statement saying the committee will delay its markup of the bill until February.

But Smith said the delay is unrelated to Wikipedia's announcement that it would black out its English sites for 24 hours, or to Reddit's decision to black out its site for 12 hours, or to Google's announcement that it will place a link on its homepage to highlight its opposition to the bill.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Smith said the delay was because of Republican and Democratic retreats scheduled for the next few weeks.

Then he reiterated his commitment to sending the bill to the White House.

"To enact legislation that protects consumers, businesses and jobs from foreign thieves who steal America's intellectual property, we will continue to bring together industry representatives and Members to find ways to combat online piracy," Smith said. “I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to send a bipartisan bill to the White House that saves American jobs and protects intellectual property."

ALSO:

Yang out at Yahoo

Waterproof smartphones? Yes please!

Internet strike: Wikipedia, Mozilla, Reddit to go dark tonight

– Deborah Netburn

Photo: Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.), left, and Lamar Smith (R-Texas) are members of the House Judiciary Committee. Credit: Alex Wong AFP/Getty Images

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Internet strike: Wikipedia, Mozilla, Reddit to go dark tonight

posted by Technology @ 1:56 PM
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Wikipedia

What does an Internet strike look like? You're about to find out.

Wikipedia, Reddit, BoingBoing and hundreds of other websites have pledged to go dark Tuesday night to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) — two anti-piracy bills that are currently making their way through Congress.

"This is an extraordinary action for our community to take," said Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales in a statement Monday announcing Wikipedia's decision to go dark. "While we regret having to prevent the world from having access to Wikipedia for even a second, we simply cannot ignore the fact that SOPA and PIPA endanger free speech both in the United States and abroad, and set a frightening precedent of Internet censorship for the world."

Wikipedia — the Web's fifth-most popular property with 470 million monthly users — is the largest Web entity to declare its intent to go dark, but it joins many other websites that have already pledged to shut down for 12 to 24 hours to draw attention to legislation that they say will hasten the end of the free Internet.

Reddit was one of the trailblazers of the blackout movement, declaring its intent to go dark on Jan. 10. Two days later, Ben Huh, chief executive of Cheezburger, which has a network of 50 sites including the seminal ICanHasCheezburger as well as Fail Blog, Know Your Meme and the Daily What, said his sites would be joining the strike.

Blackouts are not the only types of protest you'll find online Wednesday. Google announced Tuesday that, while its search engine will continue to function, the company will place a link on its home page to highlight its opposition to the bills.

“Like many businesses, entrepreneurs and Web users, we oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking American companies to censor the Internet,” Samantha Smith, a Google spokeswoman, said in an email Tuesday. “So tomorrow we will be joining many other tech companies to highlight this issue on our U.S. home page.”

And Scribd, which claims to be the world's largest online repository of documents, said visitors to its website would find a pop-up roadblock Wednesday in protest of SOPA and PIPA that will lead to a call to action and an online petition. 

Craigslist started its protest early. A starred section at the top of the site urges users to "help put a stop to this madness" and links to a page dedicated to the topic.

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Where's my Wikipedia? SOPA, PIPA blackout coming

– Deborah Netburn

Image: The Wikipedia home page.

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Where’s my Wikipedia? SOPA, PIPA blackout coming

posted by Technology @ 9:00 AM
Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jimmy Wales will shut down Wikipedia for 24 hours

Wikipedia is among hundreds of websites that will be showing just how they feel about SOPA  by going dark Wednesday.

The English-language version of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, will be shut down for 24 hours in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act and PIPA, the Protect Intellectual Property Act, now working their way through Congress.

Jimmy Wales, site co-founder, told the BBC's Martha Kearney on Tuesday morning that "tomorrow from midnight Washington D.C. time until midnight the entire day of Wednesday, we're going to blank out" the English version of Wikipedia and post a message of protest.

He told Kearney that the legislation makes "something like Wikipedia essentially impossible … if the provider has to police everything that everyone is doing on the site."

Websites taking part in the so-called SOPA Strike include Mozilla, Reddit, WordPress and Boing Boing.

Twitter was hopping Tuesday morning with the news:

From the BBC's Philippia Thomas: "#Twitter chief says 'Closing a global business in reaction to a single-issue national politics is foolish'. How about that #Wikipedia?"

Greenpeace tweeted:  " 'We're sorry, you're not allowed to read this.' Join us in saying no to corporate censorship of the internet."

The MPAA and others who support the law say the Internet operators have it all wrong. As the Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday:

The Motion Picture Assn. of America and others driving the legislation said real progress had been made toward creating a law that would protect intellectual property. The advocates said misinformation is inflaming passions on the Web while doing nothing to solve the problem of piracy.

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– Amy Hubbard

Photo: Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales in 2011.  Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth / Associated Press

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Godaddy

Internet registration service GoDaddy.com has taken itself out of the firing line on one of the Internet community's biggest controversies. GoDaddy had been a vocal supporter of the Stop Online Piracy Act, the bill that would allow media companies to cut off access to alleged foreign piracy sites, a process that opponents say could harm the mechanisms that let information flow online.

But now, after pressure from clients and advocates, GoDaddy is going the other way.

"Fighting online piracy is of the utmost importance, which is why Go Daddy has been working to help craft revisions to this legislation — but we can clearly do better," said chief executive Warren Adelman in a statement. The company also said that in order to avoid confusion it had "removed blog postings that had outlined areas of the bill Go Daddy did support."

The move came after a flurry of criticism from website owners and Internet companies. On Thursday, the chief executive of Internet comedy syndicate (I Can Has) Cheezburger? wrote that he would pull his 1,000 websites from GoDaddy's service if the company continued to support the legislative bill.

"We love you guys, but #SOPA-is-cancer to the Free Web," Ben Huh tweeted.

Other bloggers quickly posted step-by-step instructionsfor how to remove sites from GoDaddy.

GoDaddy had been listed by the House Judiciary Committee as one of dozens of companiesthat support the bill. That list included a who's who of media conglomerates including News Corp., Time Warner, Sony companies and Universal Music, as well as a number of law firms that represent such companies. (The blog TechDirt has reported that those firms are trying to remove themselves from the list.)

The anti-piracy bill would allow media firms and others to request that the companies that control online data pipelines could shut off access to websites that are alleged to host pirated content. But opponents argue that the law would make it too easy for a small number of powerful media firms to cause too many changes to the intricate network that routes data around the Internet, which could in turn prevent the flow of legitimate information. They also point out that shutting off access to piracy sites wouldn't get rid of the sites themselves.

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– David Sarno

Photo: A still from a GoDaddy television commercial from early 2011. Credit: The Go Daddy Group Inc.

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