Many organisations are taking a stand against two bills being considered by the US Congress: SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act), by blacking out their Internet sites for 24 hours on 18 January 2012.
SOPA and PIPA offer legislation to stop copyright infringement committed by foreign websites. Now... that all sounds good... except in many experts' opinions, if passed, they'll do it in a way that will violate free expression and harm the Internet.
The purpose of the protest, according to Wikipedia, is twofold. To raise awareness among the general public about the two bills, and to urge people to share their views with the bills' representatives. Just 13 hours into the blackout and feedback shows that the action has engaged more than 10,000 people to comment on the Wikimedia Foundation's blog post; become a trending topic on Twitter, globally; inspired 7,200 articles on Google News; resulted in more than 90 million people seeing the Wikipedia blackout page; and prompted more than 5 million people to look up their elected representatives' contact information via the Wikipedia tool.
The underlying question is, are these bills the product of misguided, misinformed people with a genuine wish to control copyright infringement or is there an ominous group behind it, like the shadow government in my novel The Zul Enigma, that wants to control us? Join the survey on The Zul Enigma Facebook Page and let me know what you think.