Fight against SOPA calls in star power

December 16, 2011

By , The Washington Post

As the debate over the markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act continues on Capital Hill, more technology heavyweights are calling for average netizens to register their discontent with the bil. Companies such as Reddit and Wikipedia are redoubling their efforts in opposing the measure, which aims to target online pirates in part by redirecting Web traffic from sites that host pirated content.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Reddit have been pushing a campaignarguing that SOPA, as written, would harm future innovation.

“Big corporations are lobbying Congress to pass a bill that would prevent sites such as Reddit, YouTube, Google or from ever getting off the ground,” the group’s campaign asserts, before issuing a call to have participants calling on their members of Congress to oppose the bill.

Underpinning the argument about the bill’s possible effects on innovation are two open letters to Congress, one sent by the founders of several prominent Web firms, including Google, Twitter, Wikipedia, and the other by engineers who were instrumental in creating the structure of the Internet, The Washington Post reported.

Supporters of the bill say that the measure would not damage the Internet or free speech, though Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) has introduced an amendment to the original bill to address some of these concerns.

In a more drastic measure, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has been discussing the possibility of staging a stunt to pull Wikipedia off the Internet in protest. On a discussion page at Wikipedia, approximately 90 percent of those who’ve weighed in support the temporary blacklist — a tactic the online encyclopedia used to combat an Italian privacy law.

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