State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University Darkens Background to Protest SOPA Legislation

by on January 18, 2012 12:51 AM

Controversial federal legislation that critics say would kill the Internet as it's known is prompting several websites to go dark Wednesday as a form of protest.

Wikipedia is among the most prominent to protest the effort, which would force Internet service providers to block access to websites that offer or link to copyrighted material. will darken its background Wednesday in protest of the legislation.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) aims to limit copyright infringement by restricting access to pirated content, requiring United States search engines and advertising networks to withhold their services, according to CNNMoney. In other words, sites such as Google, Yahoo and Bing wouldn’t show sites that host pirated content.

U.S. Rep. Glenn "G.T." Thompson, R-Howard, said in a prepared statement to that there needs to be further discussion on the bill.

"While online piracy is an issue of serious concern, posing threats to our nation’s economy, America’s finest innovative companies and countless small businesses that employ workers across the country, federal action on this issue without a more thorough discussion of potential unintended consequences would be shortsighted and obviously the wrong approach," Thompson said.

"While I look forward to a healthy and robust discussion, any effort to combat online piracy must avoid undue regulation, censorship, and other potential threats to competition, innovation and online freedom,” he went on.

President Barack Obama’s administration strongly opposed the bill Saturday, causing the draft to be re-written.

“Let us be clear, online piracy is a real problem that harms the American economy, threatens jobs for significant numbers of middle class workers and hurts some of our nation’s most creative and innovative companies and entrepreneurs,” the White House said in a statement released Saturday.

“We will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet," the statement continued.

Support for the bill is split, according to the CNNMoney. Advocates say online piracy leads to job loss. Critics argue it could lead to censorship and ruin the free and open forum the Internet provides.

“We believe in a free and open Internet where information can be shared without impediment,” Sue Gardner, executive director of Wikimedia Foundation wrote on the website. “We believe that new proposed laws like SOPA and PIPA, and other similar laws under discussion inside and outside the United States, don’t advance the interests of the general public.”

The staff of prepared this article. Reach us at (814) 238-6201.
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