UPDATE 1/20/11 – 1:02 p.m.

SOPA and PIPA are theoretically defeated. Major sponsors, who suggested calling in “nerds” to actually tell them what all this meant, pulled back their support under mass protests this week.

Now the question is, “What will the next battle be?”


Photo by Craig Kanalley for MSNBC.com. Protesters participate in an emergency New York Tech Meetup, held Wednesday at 49th Street and 3rd Avenue in New York City to protest the SOPA and PIPA legislation.

The free and open internet is under attack.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) are a pair of bills introduced to the House and Senate respectively this past year to help curb access and downloads of copyrighted content from online sites.

There were large website blackouts yesterday, which is why this site did not have its daily update, in cooperative protest of these bills.

Even though SOPA is currently undergoing massive rewrites before it goes to a vote, that did not stop the American government from coordinating warrants and arrests internationally to charge seven foreign nationals with “Online Piracy”.

The backlash has been dramatic.

There have already been mass protests, both online and physically, to the legislation. Petitions circulated via google have already counted 7 million signatures. Protesters in New York launched actions in front of the offices of Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Online hacker-activist guild Anonymous has already responded with multiple attacks that the shut down of the Department of Justice website as well as the sites of several other SOPA advocates, including recording labels and film studios.

SOPA is obviously facing heavy opposition from tech giants; they are calling its language too broad and fears unintended repercussions from the measure.

Content owners could bring charges agains sites deemed as “pirates” for “facilitating” the exchange or access to copyrighted content. The burden would then land on the company to prove its innocence.

Whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty”? Seems like due-process and the 5th amendment are being bypassed in no small measure.

Of course, movie studios, record labels and other content producers are hailing this bill as a savior. They are backing it as a way to protect jobs and revenue that has otherwise been stolen via online sites like MegaUpload and ThePirateBay.

Either way, this fight is far from over.

You can find a little more about what these bills mean from this CNN Money Report, although, it is an article on CNN Money, so be aware of that.