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Wikipedia, Google, Others Lead Internet "Strike" to Protest Anti-Piracy Bill

By Chris Bentley in News on Jan 18, 2012 5:00PM

Wikipedia and Google are among the websites threatening to turn out the lights in this series of tubes we call the internet. Even the LOLcats have thrown up their paws.

Reddit, Wired, and Mozilla are also "on strike" today to protest two bills before Congress that they say would cripple the open nature of the internet. If the function of a website “enables or facilitates” copyright infringement, the proposed legislation could find that site “dedicated to the theft of US property” — a definition many say is unreasonably broad.

Proponents of the bill, notably record companies and Hollywood, say they only aim to quell online theft and protect intellectual property from piracy, not choke the free flow of information.

The Senate may debate the Protect IP Act (PIPA) next week, while the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is on deck for discussion in February.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Arianna Huffington and a veritable roll call of internet titans voiced their opposition to the bills in an open letter sent to Washington in December.

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin supports the Senate’s version of the bill. Senator Mark Kirk said he is opposed to it, although he has received more money from groups supporting the bill than from those opposed.

Today's protest comes despite the White House announcing Saturday it would not support the bills. Congressional support for the bills has unraveled somewhat in recent weeks.

For now, our storefronts stay open in the ist-a-verse. And if Wikipedia plays Lysistrata with your internet info-lust any longer, there's always the old-fashioned way.