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Websites Dark Jan. 18 to Protest Piracy Act; Patch Still Posted Local News

The Stop Online Piracy Act is supposed to stop copyright infringement, but feels more like censorship for some people.

Imagine going to look for some information on the internet only to discover that site after site is down or blocked.

If the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) is signed into law, some folks think blank or down websites is exactly what users will get in the name of stopping copyright infringement on the web.

In a nutshell, SOPA gives government and major corporations the ability to shut down websites they think violate copyright laws without a trial or even a traditional court hearing. Hollywood movie studios and recording companies are all for this, claiming to have suffered losses in the millions of dollars because of illegal downloads and file sharing.

Several websites are going dark or posting messages today, Jan. 18, to support not passing SOPA: Google, Wikipedia, TwitPic, reddit and ICanHazCheezburger.com are just a few participating in the online protest. Neither AOL nor Patch is participating though both companies firmly support an open and free web.

"As written, we cannot support the bills.  We believe an open Internet is critical for innovation, job creation, and the sustained growth of Internet businesses. We are in the process of working directly with lawmakers to improve the bills," said Tekedra N. Mawakana, AOL's Senior Vice President of Public Policy.

Locally, Rob Zerban, the Kenosha businessman challenging Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Janesville), in support of killing the SOPA bill. Like many lawmakers in Washington, Ryan has stated he no longer supports SOPA because of the possibility for censorship and legal abuse.

Joe Greenfield January 19, 2012 at 12:53 AM
Pelosi has been stating she's against the bills since November.
Denise Konkol January 19, 2012 at 05:18 AM
I can't imagine this is going to go very far. A bit like 'new Coke' where someone thought it was a good idea but when it saw the light of day, it died a quick death.
Lyle Ruble January 19, 2012 at 08:22 PM
There are already laws on the books to prevent copyright infringement. This is clearly going too far and should die a quick death.
Heather Asiyanbi January 19, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Too funny, mau! Let's hope this actually matters and the bills both die quickly.
rudi wendt January 23, 2012 at 07:20 PM
James R Hoffa,very interesting.I'm sure there are some tired of hearing from me,but this is exactly what is happening with me concerning WE energies and all the traffic noise.

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