Wikipedia, Google protest anti-piracy legislation - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wikipedia, Google protest anti-piracy legislation

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(CNN) -- Online encyclopedia "Wikipedia" went black Wednesday morning to protest anti-piracy legislation that is up for debate in Congress.

Two bills known as SOPA and PIPA target overseas sites -- like the pirate bay -- that allow users to share illegal downloads of movies, music, and other digital content.

"These rogue sites are hurting American jobs, stealing American jobs," says Steven Tepp of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "They're harming American consumers and they have no business being on the internet."

The bills try to cut off access to the overseas sites by requiring U.S. search engines and other providers to withhold their services.

"In the worst versions of the bill, Wikipedia would be defined as a search engine and we would not be able to even link to something like the Pirate Bay even in our encyclopedic description of what Pirate Bay is," says Wikipedia Co-Founder Jimmy Wales. "I think that's a real problem. That raises really serious first amendment issues."

Other websites are joining Wikipedia in protest, including blog Boing Boing.

Google put a black bar over its logo in solidarity with the cause.

One of the bills, SOPA, would open the way for websites to be shut down if there is copyright infringement.

"If you think of Facebook, if you think of Twitter, if you think of Google and eBay, etc -- people put things, users on to company sites and companies can't control that, well they could, by censorship and that's what we want to avoid," says Ed Black, President & CEO of the Computer & Communications Industry Association.

The White House admits online piracy is a problem but has come out firmly against the bills -- saying they limit freedom of expression.

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