Web ‘blackout’ ends

KD Suarez
24-hour blackout of Wikipedia, other sites end; SOPA, PIPA lose key backers in US Senate

MANILA, Philippines – The 24-hour blackout of dozens of websites, including the popular crowdsourced encyclopedia Wikipedia, ended on Thursday, January 19, as the controversial SOPA lost key backers in the US Congress.

“Thank you for protecting Wikipedia. (We’re not done yet),” said a banner on the website, as it removed the black overlay that covered all of its pages for a day, starting Wednesday, January 18.

“Millions of people have spoken in defense of a free and open Internet,” the site said.

Other websites which participated in the blackout, such as BoingBoing and Reddit, have also returned to their normal sites.

Over the course of 24 hours, the controversial measure lost some of its key backers in the US Congress.

Some of the more prominent lawmakers who withdrew their support were Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Utah Senator Orrin Hatch (both co-sponsors of the PIPA).

A Google petition against the measure got more than 4.5 million supporters, while 300,000 calls and emails were made to US lawmakers, according to organizers. Protests were also held in several cities.

Meanwhile, those supporting the bill said the blackout was a “gimmick,” and criticized the protesters for using the web as a platform to lobby and sway legislators.

The SOPA and the PIPA are two bills, currently at the US House and Senate, respectively, which aims to curtail rampant copyright and intellectual property infringement on the Internet.

Supporters — mostly televison networks, media companies, movie studios, and record labels — have said it will prevent such illegal acts. On the other hand, critics of the bills said it will curtail a free and open Internet and will affect free speech rights. – Rappler.com

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