On Jan. 18, the Internet had its first general strike. Dozens of websites shut down in protest of two bills making their way through Congress – the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act . The bills’ supporters argued that they provided essential tools to force intellectual property infringement off the Internet, but opponents feared that those same tools could be used to quash speech and suppress innovation. Millions of people signed petitions or contacted their representatives to comment.
Following the protest, several sponsors withdrew their support, and both bills were pulled from the legislative agenda. However, while both bills have receded from consideration for now, the structural problems of our intellectual property regime that prompted their introduction remain in place. Congress will undoubtedly see similar bills again.
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