By Andre Damon in the USA:
Wikipedia shuts down to protest censorship bills
18 January 2012
Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, is shutting down for 24 hours today to protest internet censorship bills currently being considered by the US Congress.
The Wikipedia Foundation announced its plan to make the English-language Wikipedia “go dark” in a press release posted on its site Monday. The move will coincide with similar actions by a number of sites, including Reddit, the link sharing site, and BoingBoing, a technology blog.
The protest is aimed against two bills, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), currently under consideration in the US House of Representatives, and its counterpart in the Senate, the Protect IP Act (PIPA). The laws would increase the government’s power over the Internet and its ability to shut down sites in the name of enforcing copyright law. They have strong support from both Democrats and Republicans
“If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open Internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States,” the Wikimedia foundation, Wikipedia’s parent organization, said in its statement Monday.
The bills would give the US government and major corporations the power to shut down access to web sites on the basis of court orders sought by the office of the Attorney General, which is subordinate to the White House. The court orders would force other companies, including search engines, to halt financial transactions and disable any links to the relevant sites.
In their current forms, the bills would allow sites to be removed from domain name registrars (which connect Internet addresses such as http://www.google.com with particular computer servers) and be blocked by Internet service providers.
The laws would allow the government to prosecute the owners of websites that link to any site providing copyrighted material, including search engines. They would also encourage web hosts and payment providers to extra-judicially blacklist websites they suspect of providing copyrighted content.
The bills’ main supporters include the film industry, major television networks including NBC and Viacom, book publishers such as Penguin and McGraw-Hill, and major record labels. They are also supported by a bevy of huge corporations, including 3M and Ford Motor Company.
Rupert Murdoch Slams White House For Criticism of SOPA: here.
Millions of people signed online petitions Wednesday against two Internet censorship bills currently under consideration by the US Congress. The petitions were driven by appeals from thousands of websites, some of which, including Wikipedia and Reddit, shut down for the day in protest: here.
Attempts by US lawmakers to restrict internet freedom have been postponed after high profile opposition: here.
Turkish anti-Internet censorship protest: here.
Hundreds of people marched through central Warsaw on Tuesday to protest against the government’s plan to sign an international copyright treaty, warning that it would infringe on freedom of expression online: here.
Are US Authorities Increasingly Trying to Limit User Freedom on the Internet in the Name of National Security? Fault Lines, Al Jazeera: “In January 2012, two controversial pieces of legislation were making their way through the US Congress. SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, and PIPA, the Protect Intellectual Property Act, were meant to crack down on the illegal sharing of digital media. The bills were drafted on request of the content industry, Hollywood studios and major record labels”: here.