The illegal reproduction and distribution of copyrighted material on the Web. See software piracy
SOPA, PIPA and the 2012 Blackout
On January 18, 2012, Wikipedia and thousands of other websites either went offline or displayed prominent messages to protest two Internet piracy bills pending in the U.S. Congress. The protests were effective as congressional proponents dropped their support the next day.
The House's Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Senate's Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PROTECT IP Act) were written to "enhance enforcement" against websites that contain copyrighted content without permission, counterfeit goods or anti-DRM software as well as sites that link to them. See copyright
Although they targeted overseas sites, opponents claimed the loosely written bills would promote Internet censorship as well as place a huge monitoring burden on search engines and websites that host user-generated content or simply have links to content. In addition, they would allow rights holders to take suspected infringers quickly offline without conclusive evidence. DNS blocking, the suggested method for redirecting traffic away from rogue sites was also a sticking point, with experts claiming it would be problematic. See Megaupload
and Section 230
January 18, 2012 was a day coordinated to raise awareness. Whether sites went entirely dark or not, their combined messages reached more than 200 million people.