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Brothers In Arms: The Internet Blackout

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By Josh Compaan

Today (January 18) a handful of major websites have taken their services offline as a response to SOPA/PIPA. These websites include Wikipedia, Reddit, Imagur, Boing Boing and Mojang. In addition to the blackouts Google will also be highlighting the issue on their homepage and Twitter has provided a method to deactivate your account for the day. Lastly, WordPress has encouraged their bloggers to raise awareness of the issue with a blog post relating to the subject. This diversion from a videogame related post is in support their cause.

For those not familier with the SOPA or PIPA bills being pushed through the governmental system they would allow the government to step in and shut down any website engaging potentially illegal or rogue activities. Jason Harvey of Reddit simplifies the complex wording down to, “The site is used ‘primarily as a means for engaging in, enabling, or facilitating the activities’ of copyright infringement or counterfeit products; or the site is designed by its operator ‘as a means for engaging in, enabling, or facilitating the activities’ of copyright infringement or counterfeit products.”

The issue at hand is that the wording in the bills is too vague and has left room for some scary interpretations. I’ll put this into perspective. Techdirt.com reports, “Monster Cable, who has stated its support for PROTECT IP [PIPA], has put together its own list of “rogue sites” and it, rather stunningly, includes sites like eBay, Craigslist, Costco and Sears.”

Under the new bills Monster Cable has the ability to do this because these store may be selling counterfeit products or products without the consent of Monster Cable.

Yes, even Twitter and Facebook would undergo massive changes to ensure that users cannot provide links to copyrighted materials.

If you are looking for a way to participate in getting your voice heard in opposition to SOPA or PIPA you can visit http://www.reddit.com/r/sopa or tinyurl.com/6rjaztn. For more information regarding SOPA or PIPA you can visit tinyurl.com/6o2tsgn.