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PORTSIDE  January 2012, Week 3

PORTSIDE January 2012, Week 3

Subject:

Google Will Protest SOPA Using Popular Home Page

From:

Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>

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Date:

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 20:45:57 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (104 lines)

Google will protest SOPA using popular home page

By Declan McCullagh and Greg Sandoval January 17, 2012

http://news.cnet.com/8301-31001_3-57360223-261/google-will-protest-sopa-using-popular-home-page/

The tech sector is pulling out the big guns.

Google, the Web's top search company and one of technology's
most influential powers in Washington, will post a link on
its home page tomorrow to notify users of Google's opposition
to controversial antipiracy bills being debated in Congress.

The company confirmed in a statement that it will join
Wikipedia, Reddit, and other influential tech firms in
staging protests of varying kinds against the Stop Online
Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA), which are backed
by big entertainment and media interests. (Read a roundup of
our SOPA and PIPA coverage here.)

"Like many businesses, entrepreneurs, and Web users, we
oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to
shut down foreign rogue Web sites without asking American
companies to censor the Internet," a Google representative
said. "So tomorrow we will be joining many other tech
companies to highlight this issue on our U.S. home page."

In response to questions about how the protest link would be
displayed on the page, all Google would say is that the link
would not replace the company logo.

Not everyone who opposes the legislation agrees on how best
to stage a protest. None of the protests appear to take as
dramatic a step as the one planned by Wikipedia. The English
version of the Web encyclopedia is scheduled to go dark for
24 hours.

The past weekend will likely long be remembered as a turning
point in the debate over how to fight online piracy in the
United States. Supporters of SOPA and PIPA once could boast
of wide bipartisan support, but the proposals suffered a
series of blows starting Thursday, when the Senate leaders
decided to eliminate an important provision in PIPA.

By Friday, both houses of Congress had eliminated a
requirement in each bill that would have compelled U.S.
Internet service providers to cut off access to foreign sites
accused of piracy.

Following that, a group of Senators--some who once supported
PIPA--requested that a vote on the bill be delayed. The
request was denied, but things kept getting worse for
antipiracy proponents. On Saturday word came that the House
would delay a vote on SOPA. And then finally, the White
House, considered an ally of the music and film industries,
suggested in a statement that the president would not support
several cornerstone provisions of the bills.

All of the news culminated in what may come to be known in
the entertainment sector as Black Sunday. Rupert Murdoch,
chairman of News Corp. and one of the world's preeminent
media tycoons, displayed a rare public tantrum via Twitter.
In his posts, he accused the president of taking his marching
orders from "Silicon Valley paymasters." Murdoch suggested
Google was whipping up opposition and was a "piracy leader."

Google called Murdoch's accusations "nonsense."

Whatever it was, the outburst illustrated the frustration of
copyright owners. There was no hiding that the tide of the
legislative battle had reversed and copyright owners were
alarmed.

Nonetheless, the fight still has a long way to go.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans to go ahead
with a vote on PIPA on January 24. In the meantime, the tech
sector will move forward with its protests in an attempt to
enlist help from the masses.

[Declan McCullagh Declan McCullagh is the chief political
correspondent for CNET. Declan previously was a reporter for
Time and the Washington bureau chief for Wired and wrote the
Taking Liberties section and Other People's Money column for
CBS News' Web site.]

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