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No to SOPA and PIPA!

Wikipedia is down today and I am back; both of us for the same reason: stopping PIPA and SOPA .

PIPA and SOPA are bills before Congress- PIPA (the Protect IP Act) in the Senate and SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) in the House. My favorite source of information on web censorship and equal access EFF, describes it this way:

As drafted, the legislation would grant the government and private parties unprecedented power to interfere with the Internet's underlying infrastructure. The government would be able to force ISPs and search engines to block users' attempts to reach certain websites' URLs. In response, third parties will woo average users to alternative servers that offer access to the entire Internet (not just the newly censored U.S. version), which will create new computer security vulnerabilities as the Internet grows increasingly balkanized.

It gets worse: the blacklist bills' provisions would give corporations and other private parties new powers to censor foreign websites with court orders that would cut off payment processors and advertisers. Broad immunity provisions (combined with a threat of litigation) would encourage service providers to overblock innocent users or even block websites voluntarily. This gives content companies every incentive to create unofficial blacklists of websites, which service providers would be under pressure to block without regard to the First Amendment.

Service providers would be forced to monitor and police their users' activities as well, threatening the DMCA safe harbors that have been vital to online innovation over the last decade. SOPA gives the government new powers to go after sites that provide information about tools that might be used to bypass the blacklists even though these are often the same tools used by democratic activists around the world to bypass Internet censorship mechanisms implemented by authoritarian governments like Iran and China.

I'm off to e-mail my representative and senators- hope you will too