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SOPA and PIPA: Web protests seem to be a turning point

Grant Gross | Jan. 19, 2012
Opponents of the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act cheered Wednesday's Web blackout as a turning point in the debate over the two controversial copyright protection bills.

Opponents of the bills have several concerns. The bills allow little due process for owners of foreign websites before court orders that shut off their income, they say. The bills could cut off legitimate free speech on sites that have user-generated content, critics say.

With the court actions by copyright holders and the legal immunity for service providers that take voluntary action, it's likely that service providers looking to avoid legal costs will cut off websites without a fight, opponents of the bills say.

Supporters of the bills say online piracy and counterfeiting is a multi-billion-dollar industry that costs the U.S. hundreds of thousands of jobs. The bills are narrowly targeted, focusing on foreign websites primarily focused on piracy or counterfeiting, they say.

While law enforcement agencies have tools to fight piracy and counterfeiting on U.S. sites, they have little power to strike at foreign websites, supporters of the bills say. A significant percentage of Internet traffic is related to piracy, supporters say, and the bills would help shut down many piracy and counterfeit sites to U.S. Internet users.



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