In case you haven’t followed the story, SOPA is House Bill H.R.3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act which is moving through Congress. PIPA is Senate Bill S.968, the Protect IP Act. The goal of SOPA is to allow the government to block access to websites which it suspects engage in illegal intellectual property distribution or merely host users who do so. Opponents insist it will fundamentally change the Internet and allow government to censor it.
Two of the most-used websites will “go black” in protest. Wikipedia will black out its English language site for 24 hours beginning at midnight. The Internet Archive (internet.org) is going dark from 6:00am to 6:00pm (PDT) in protest.
Internet companies have joined sides, and some (such as GoDaddy) have switched sides due to popular pressure. The House Judiciary Committee published a List of Supporters of SOPA. Last month, 83 prominent Internet founders and innovators wrote An Open Letter From Internet Engineers to the U.S. Congress. Anti-SOPA companies have written joint letters to Congress stating their opposition, as well.
Regarding SOPA/PIPA’s effects on libraries, the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) (which consists of the American Library Association, the Association of College and
Research Libraries, and the Association of Research Libraries) has issued a letter showing the negative impact on libraries and making them more susceptible to prosecution.