Wikipedia and Google have staged blackouts and protests against two proposed US laws that could let copyright owners block websites.
As expected, Wikipedia began a blackout of its English language sites at 5:00am. Reddit and WordPress also held day-long blackouts, while Google amended its logo for the period and encouraged US citizens to write to their congressmen.
"Any site that has comments, a forum, video streaming, user content in any form, is in real danger of being destroyed by SOPA and PIPA," gaming news site Rock, Paper, Shotgun wrote. "YouTube, Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter... The internet, as this wonderful, extraordinary, free and beautiful thing, would be broken forever."
A clause that would force US ISPS to block access to overseas websites accused of piracy in SOPA has been dropped, in response to widespread indignation. However, the protests went ahead, despite this.
"Because we think there's a good way forward [to combat piracy] that doesn't cause collateral damage to the web, we're joining Wikipedia, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, Mozilla and other internet companies in speaking out against SOPA and PIPA," Google's chief legal officer, David Drummond, wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.
"We’re asking you to sign a petition and join the millions who have already reached out to Congress through phone calls, letters and petitions asking them to rethink SOPA and PIPA."