The Day (Some Of) The Web Went Dark

Online protests today of SOPA/PIPA legislation blur future of anti-piracy efforts as several legislators back down
It’s unclear what happens tomorrow or the ensuing days now that the bills have lost some backers in the wake of high-profile resistance around the Internet.

Cricket Liu, vice president of architecture at Infoblox, says he hopes Congress has learned from the protest and fallout to consult with the Internet community early on in the legislative process. “I hope that Congress gains a better sense of the power of Internet companies to organize a grassroots protest, and I hope that they learn to involve the Internet community earlier in the legislative process to obviate this kind of response in the future. Most Internet professionals have little sympathy for copyright infringement, but we'll go to the mattresses to defend our Internet,” Liu says.

The challenge is balancing anti-piracy and Internet freedom; Errata’s Graham says anything you do to fight piracy will fight Internet freedom as well. “There’s no way to have anti-piracy not affect freedom. The question is, are there reasonable trade-offs to make?” Graham says.

He says part of the legislation that calls for regional representatives focusing on privacy being located in Africa, Asia, Europe, and other locations is reasonable. Their role would be to urge local hosting firms to shut down piracy sites in their countries, for instance. “I don’t see how that affects my freedoms on the Internet. There’s [something] that could help,” Graham says.

Then there’s Anonymous’ threats of targeting Sony again, according to a report by SC Magazine. Sony, like other entertainment firms, is behind the SOPA/PIPA bills as a way to combat movie and music piracy, for example. According to the report, Anonymous will hack and populate the home page with BitTorrent files for downloading copyright-protected movies and music, and making songs free on Sony Music’s online store.

And look for a possible leak of company executives’ personal information on the site, as well, the report says.

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