The adoption of the controversial USA ‘Stop Online Piracy’ act (SOPA) and the ‘Protect IP’ act (PIPA) has been indefinitely postponed in the wake of massive online protests by the international Internet community.
Pursuant to both acts the US government would have the power to block access to websites believed to be infringing copyright, especially websites not based in the USA.
Opposing the bill was the international computer and communications industry that saw SOPA and PIPA as censoring the Internet, a shared global resource.
Following the November 16 2011 protest against the acts dubbed ‘American Censorship Day’, a massive, coordinated Web-based protest against SOPA and PIPA took place on January 18 2012. Thousands of internet players participated in an ‘internet blackout’, blocking or censoring their websites to demonstrate what they believe would be the effects of adopting the controversial legislation.
Among the estimated 115,000 websites that blacked out or modified their sites to feature information about SOPA and PIPA were the English-language Wikipedia, Google and Mozzila.
Taking place the on the same day as the online protests were several physical protests against the acts in New York, San Francisco and Seattle.
In the wake of the protests the US senate, set to vote on PIPA, and the US House of Representatives that was to vote on SOPA announced that the vote on the bills will be postponed indefinitely, until a balance is reached between protecting intellectual property and maintaining the openness of the Internet.
Opponents of SOPA and PIPA warn that, though shelved, the legislative proposals are not dead and are certain to return in some form.
Picture: Wikipedia blacks out its site for 24 hours