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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Google, Wikipedia in online protest of censorship bill today

Wikipedia and Google are among thousands of sites protesting an Internet
censorship bill today by either going dark or altering their design.
Plainfielders turning to Wikipedia today for research (or to settle a bar bet) will find the website has gone dark for 24 hours in protest of two online piracy bills under consideration by Congress that threaten the Internet as a haven of free speech and inquiry.

According to a story on the Huffington Post (see here), Wikipedia (see here) is but one of thousands of sites that have shuttered themselves in protest today.

Others, such as Google (see here), are participating by converting their design to one of gloom and foreboding for the day.

All participating sites are posting links to explain the dangers of the proposed legislation, and Wikipedia has a lookup-by-Zipcode to give online visitors links to contact their representatives in Washington (see here).

Big-money Hollywood film companies and music industry giants have been caught off guard by the protest, which throws a spotlight on the bills they quietly lobbied for -- and nearly pulled off without notice.

However, after the tech and Internet companies got involved, Congressional leaders quickly back-pedalled and President Obama (who counts on both sides for funds in his upcoming election struggle) has called for changes to the bills as proposed.

The Internet, as they say, has changed everything.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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