Congressional support for a pair of anti-piracy bills is weakening after Wednesday’s historic online protest in which thousands of websites went dark for 24 hours. Hollywood film studios, music publishers and major broadcasters support the anti-piracy legislation, saying it aims to stop the piracy of copyrighted material over the internet on websites based outside the United States. "We’re talking about sites that are operated and dedicated to piracy and that are really preventing individual creators across the country from having an economic livelihood from their creative pursuits," says Sandra Aistars, Executive Director of the Copyright Alliance, whose members include the Motion Picture Association of America, NBC Universal, Time Warner, Viacom, ASCAP and BMI. But critics say the bills could profoundly change the internet by stifling innovation and investment, hallmarks of the free, open internet. "Wikipedia can be defined as a search engine under these [bills]," says Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Sales. "That would mean it would be illegal for Wikipedia to link to a site, even if we are explaining to the public what is going on here. That would become illegal. This is outrageous. It’s not acceptable under the First Amendment." [Rush transcript to come. Check back soon.]moreless
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