After protest, Congress puts off internet piracy bill

Critics said the bills would result in censorship and could add a major burden to colleges and universities.

Caving to a massive campaign by internet services and their millions of users, which also included universities such as Syracuse and MIT, Congress on Jan. 20 indefinitely postponed legislation to stop the online piracy of movies and music that is costing U.S. companies billions of dollars every year. Critics said the bills would result in censorship and could add a major burden to colleges and universities.

The demise, at least for the time being, of the anti-piracy bills was a clear victory for Silicon Valley over Hollywood, which has campaigned for a tougher response to internet piracy. The legislation also would cover the counterfeiting of drugs and car parts.

Congress’ qualms underscored how internet users can use their collective might to block those who want to change the system.…Read More

Colleges join Wikipedia in SOPA blackout protests

A key U.S. senator withdrew his support for SOPA Jan. 18.

Syracuse University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) joined several of the web’s most visited sites, including Wikipedia, in a partial blackout to speak out against pending anti-piracy legislation that critics say could curtail internet freedom in the U.S.

Visitors to the homepages of MIT’s admissions office and Syracuse University’s School of Information – known as the iSchool – Jan. 18 were confronted with information about the House of Representative’s Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), both of which have received bipartisan support as a way to curb online piracy.

Many in higher education have said in recent weeks that SOPA could have a long lasting impact on college and university websites. If those sites are suspected of being complicit in sharing copyrighted information, the government would have legal authority to shut down the site.…Read More

Fight against SOPA intensifies surrounding House debate

The House Judiciary Committee met to debate changes to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) on Thursday as the public debate between players with deep pockets on both sides reached new heights, Mashable reports. If the bill at issue, SOPA, were to become law, it would create a “blacklist” of websites that infringe on copyrights. Private companies who allege that a site is unlawfully publishing their copyrighted content could, with a judge’s signature, demand that ad networks and companies such as PayPal and Visa stop doing business with such sites. Internet service providers would need to prevent Americans from visiting them…

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Online piracy bill could be major burden for colleges

SOPA has not yet been voted on in Congress.

Campus librarians and IT staffers could be legally required to comb through digital traffic for signs of copyright violations if Congress passes online piracy legislation that has met stiff opposition from higher-education groups that see the law as broad censoring of the internet.

The House of Representative’s Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s PROTECT IP Act, backed by the influential entertainment industry as a way to crack down on web-based copyright violations, could impose a lasting workload on college and university officials charged with tracking online piracy on their school’s network.

SOPA, introduced in October by a bipartisan group of legislators, would let the U.S. Department of Justice and copyright holders secure court orders against websites accused of contributing to internet copyright infringement.…Read More

Understanding SOPA: The House debates the Stop Online Piracy Act

This week, some of the biggest companies on the web came out in full force to oppose a proposed anti-piracy bill wending its way through Congress, Today in Tech reports. The bill is known as the Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA, and it expands the U.S. Department of Justice’s power to enforce copyright—and to demand that internet entities like social networks and search engines take an active role in doing so too. Prior to a congressional hearing this morning, a consortium of nine companies that would be affected by the bill (eBay, Twitter, AOL, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Mozilla, Zynga, and LinkedIn) released an open letter publicly criticizing SOPA . The hearing only featured a single witness against the proposal: Google’s policy counsel, Katherine Oyama…

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