Wikipedia Blackout: Websites Wikipedia, Reddit, Others Go Dark Wednesday to Protest SOPA, PIPA

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The heads of major Internet companies say they grant that music publishers and Hollywood studios have a real problem: People are stealing their music and movies, making digital copies that are as crisp and clear as the originals, and offering them for download, often from overseas websites.

The music and film industries say they consider that a major threat, even a decade after Napster made online file sharing a major issue.

"More than 2.2 million hard-working, middle-class people in all 50 states depend on the entertainment industry for their jobs and many millions more work in other industries that rely on intellectual property," Michael O'Leary of the Motion Picture Association of America said in a statement. "For all these workers and their families, online content and counterfeiting by these foreign sites mean declining incomes, lost jobs and reduced health and retirement benefits."

But the devil is in the details, said NetCoalition's Erickson.

"This bill reverses the policy that has been in place since the beginning of the Web," he said, "that Internet companies shouldn't be liable, nor should they be required to police or snoop on their users."

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