January 18th, 2012
04:04 PM ET

SOPA 101: Your guide to the Internet blackout

You probably woke up this morning to realize the Internet is totally screwy.

Is it the online apocalypse? Not so much. Google, Wikipedia, Boing Boing and others have gone dark, along with thousands of others, who are protesting two anti-piracy bills that are up for debate in the U.S. Congress.

It's a debate that's pitted the Web against Washington. And if the goal of these protests was to get people talking, that sure seems to have worked, with every media organization on the planet talking about piracy today.

Many of these sites are using creative techniques to bring attention to the two bills – one called SOPA, the other PIPA – and making very clear their viewpoint on it.

Before you panic, read our quick-and-dirty guide to these online protests.

With all of these sites going dark, it is important to know why this topic has become the center of a heated debate.

CNNMoney has a genius explainer on this topic, for those interested in all the gritty details. The gist is this: Media companies are upset that their copyrighted content gets stolen and given away for free by some websites. Two bills aim to crack down on this piracy by restricting access to U.S. websites that potentially could link to this pirated content. Tech companies in Silicon Valley say the bills have unintended consequences that could tamper with the way the Internet functions.

Read on here.

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Topics: Internet • Technology

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. The Virtual Legal Secretary & Translator

    Reblogged this on The Virtual Legal Secretary & Translator.

    January 18, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Reply
  2. j. von hettlingen

    Both camps have their legitimate rights to raise their concerns and justify their actions.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Reply
    • Vishal

      "Capture and troutre" are only some US government practices. US tax payers not only help continue it by way of ignorance and tax money, many of them enjoy it in other ways as well. Like through TV programs, video games and etc. Anything that helps promote and continue fear, hate, greed, lust, ignorance seems normal for closed mind & heart majority. An ancient psychological recycling of teaching prisoners to continue being prisoners and masters to continue mastering. U R Change.VA:F [1.9.9_1125]please wait...Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)VA:F [1.9.9_1125]Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

      February 12, 2012 at 12:39 am | Reply
    • qsjfmbxdeoi

      C6btsc ecavtprnleca

      February 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Reply
  3. JAL

    I dont pirate anything to any significant degree and todays protest just forced me to see where else I can get my information. It was a good day for Yahoo.

    January 18, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Reply
  4. Vladimir

    when you steal you take away the person's object. The word is copy...

    January 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Reply
  5. Jimmi Kristensen

    First they close some filesharing sites, like today Megauplad, then some others, and then twitter, youtube, facebook and others, this is just what any midle east dictator have dreamt about, together with Putin, the chinese government and several others.
    First they came after the jews, i was not a jew, why should i care, then they came after the liberals, i was not a liberal why should i care, then they came after the libertarians, i was not a libertarian, why should i care, then after the conservatives, why should i care i was not a conservative...... then they came after me and then there was noone left to defend me.

    January 19, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Reply

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