Web giants unite against anti-piracy bill
US - Some of the web’s biggest portals including Google, Wikipedia and Craigslist have disrupted their services in protest of proposed US legislation they say will harm a free and open internet and bring about new tools for online censorship.
At press time, Wikipedia had suspended its services, saying "the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet.”
The online encyclopedia's blackout, intended to precede next week's Senate vote on the legislation, is scheduled to last 24 hours.
Google is also joining the protest and making searches on its US page scrambled.
Organisers say it is the biggest blackout of internet sites in US history.
The protest is the culmination of an aggressive campaign on the part of the internet community to warn lawmakers and consumers that SOPA in the House and PIPA in the Senate contain dangerous provisions that could irrepreparably harm the internet and chill free speech.
Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, American Express, LinkedIn and Tumblr have all publicly stated opposition to the landmark act, which seeks to make site owners responsible for illegal hosting of content rather than the users themselves.
The proposed legislation has also raised concerns that Hollywood and other established media entities are using the piracy issue to stifle online innovation.
With America the centre for much of the globe's entertainment (particularly Hollywood), whichever way the Senate votes will have huge ramifications and flow-on effects worldwide.
Additional reporting from Adweek.
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