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US Congress moves against “pirates”: Wikipedia protests

by on 18 Jan, 2012

The US Congress is taking ”piracy” of US intellectual property seriously by proposing to attack the financial basis of foreign sites running copyright material without permission.  Two acts are in Congress to let media owners force search engines to stop linking to “pirate” sites and stop US advertisers advertising.

Wikipedia offline in protest

The opposition is growing to the acts.  The most public so far has been Wikipedia which suspended its English-language site for 24 hours from Tuesday night.  Glad my students are not on deadline for their coursework yet.

Even the White House is against the acts, saying they infringe freedom of speech.

Ever since Viacom failed in 2010 in its bid to get damages for copyright infringement from You Tube, now owned by Google, the media owners have been looking for a new weapon to defend their property.  They have found it in these proposed acts.

The US writer Clay Shirk yhas  made an impressive 13-minute lecture on the motives of the media owners behind the acts.

Murdoch vs Google

A strong supporter of the acts is Rupert Murdoch.  He tweeted about Google: “Piracy leader is Google who streams movies free, sells advts around them. No wonder pouring millions into lobbying.”

Murdoch does not say how much he is pouring into lobbying to support the acts.

Google responded: “This is just nonsense.  Last year we took down 5 million infringing Web pages from our search results and invested more than $60 million in the fight against bad ads … We fight pirates and counterfeiters every day.”

A long battle

The struggle continues between media owners and users that started with the first copyright act in the world in England in 1709.

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