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Germans join internet blackout protest

The Local · 18 Jan 2012, 16:03

Published: 18 Jan 2012 16:03 GMT+01:00

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The symbolic protests by operations as diverse as the Green Party, the Chaos Computer Club and the popular German blog Spreeblick, mirrored the self-blockage of the English-language Wikipedia site.

It has been leading the charge against the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA), currently winding their way through Congress.

Though major entertainment industry groups in the United States including the Motion Picture Association of America and large television and book publishers support the legislation, tech-focused companies including Google and Yahoo have come out strongly against it.

Supporters of the laws say they would protect intellectual property owners by forcing American internet service providers to closely police websites they host for material that violates copyright laws. Opponents say websites like Wikipedia and Youtube.com could be shut down every time someone is accused of uploading infringing material.

Websites in Germany and other countries could be affected by the legislation because it would oblige search engines, like Google, to remove listings deemed to violate copyright laws, from their search indexes – and if they are hosted in the United States, the websites could be taken offline.

The Green Party called on Germans to oppose similar legislation currently under discussion in the European Parliament. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement would create standardised international regulations to fight piracy online, but opponents say it has many of the same flaws as SOPA and PIPA.

“We need a new balancing of interests of authors, copyright holders, users and the general public. We consider the current plans disproportionate and counterproductive,” the Greens wrote in a statement posted on their website.

Though Wikipedia sites in languages other than English did not join the blacking-out protest, the German version put a large banner on top of its site saying the legislation being considered in the United States “threatens the existence of Wikipedia.”

Story continues below…

The Local/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:40 January 18, 2012 by iseedaftpeople
I'm all for the protest. Power to the people.

SOPA is nothing but an insidious attempt by major corporations to control and censor the Internet... and governments (particularly the U.S. government) are making themselves willing accomplices because they too have a vested interest in Internet censorship.

It must finally get around to them that the Internet is more than just a distribution channel for licensed media content and government-approved propaganda.
17:21 January 18, 2012 by mos101392
You can't have it both ways-because of the internet, the Arab spring flourished. The internet is, (up to now), free. Any intervention or implementation of new laws will hinder free expression. It"s up to those who are losing money to find ways to keep their money. The internet is like the forest, or desert, if you leave something....it's up for the grabbing!
20:18 January 18, 2012 by Jibzy
Btw, it isnt Wikipedia that is leading the charge against SOPA. It is Reddit. Reddit decided on this Blackout before Wikipedia tagged along.
05:49 January 19, 2012 by Aasvogel
Government has no business meddling with the internet. It is the people's medium. Full freedom and market forces should prevail. It should be for courts to decide what is legal on an individual case by case basis. I'm for sending a strong message to any government that any form of interference is censorship and will be resisted. Hands off!
06:32 January 19, 2012 by ChrisRea
Very nicely put: http://www.pidjin.net/2012/01/13/dont-stop-me-now/
10:59 January 20, 2012 by christopheuk25
Another serious attempt by the political slime to try and destroy our freedom,fight this all the way.
19:53 January 20, 2012 by Drewsky
The internet has always seemed, to me, as similar to the 1870s American Wild West. Freedom from the law is exchanged for self reliance and opportunity. As a user, I'm careful about my property and if I threw my ideas out there I would expect them to possibly be stolen. (Well, MY ideas don't have much cache, but you get the point ...). Now comes the US Government, the biggest 'de-regulator' in modern history (the boys who gave us the global melt-down) who says this media needs regulation (?) Ha ! What's in it for me, hombres? Nothing, as usual ! What's in it for your precious, Super-PAC corporations? Plenty ! I'm so fed up the USA thinking it has the right to run the world and I'm gratified to see that the rest of the world is on to it and not willing to take their CRAP.
13:27 February 6, 2012 by Dixiewife47
I agree with Wiki when it shut down to protest the "wanna be " ban.

Our ( I live in America ) govt is a joke at best as it is. The current administration under Obama is worthless to say the least and now they want to do this?

" Piracy" has gone on for a long time. This is just another attempt by the big corporations.. ie. the movie studios, music industry, etc to make a buck. Like they dont already make millions off their entertainment as it is.

I agree with Drewsky. I too am fed up with the US trying to run the world, and I wish the US people would start to take a stand like some other countrys do and fight for the rights that we are seeing taken away. The US people are much to tolerant of its govt. We complain alot, but wont' take any action. Oh yeah. we "vote the people out of office. " THAT really works doesnt it? vote one ignoranus out and another one takes his place !
19:24 February 15, 2012 by Freeman
I bet if ya had, 25 shares of (*.*$) SOPA be open to upload it granted rec'd.
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