The online campaign against federal legislation to curb Internet piracy of copyrighted content is in the spotlight today, as Google covers its logo with a black banner and Wikipedia goes black to protest what they see as a stifling effect if Congress passes the “Stop Online Piracy Act” and the Protect IP Act.
Here is a balanced report from PC World. Among other things, advocates of anti-piracy legislation are arguing that past crackdowns (the court decisions against file-sharing outfits like Grokster et al) were also supposed to stifle freedom, but the dire warnings proved exaggerated.
U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, says he favors moves to curb copyright pirates, but he opposes SOPA and PIPA in their current form.
Thanks to social media, opponents of the legislation have mobilized millions to contact Congress, and some are taking notice. Today, two Republican Senators switched from support to opposition, the New York Times reports.
UPDATE: Here’s a website that lists SOPA-PIPA campaign contributions to Washington Senators and Representatives. I have no immediate way of verifying its accuracy. Interesting to note that Larsen appears to have received significant money from pro-SOPA interests, but he is still opposing the bill at this point.