headlines - today. Both large, powerful web companies and smaller, private parties joined in this protest. Among the former, there are ubiquitous presences like Google, Wikipedia and Firefox; among the latter, the web comic XKCD and others.
At the crux of the matter are two bills: the Stop On-line Piracy Act (in the House) the and Protect Intellectual Property Act (in the Senate). Known by the adorable acronyms SOPA and PIPA, they are backed by major media companies and are directed against the illegal downloading and streaming of copyright-protected TV shows and movies online. However, according to criticism, the vague language in the bills would enable them to be used to stifle not only user-driven sites, like YouTube or Reddit, for example, but also big operators like search engines and small ones like self-employed media professionals.
Want to know more? The text of both bills is available through the Library of Congress (SOPA and PIPA, respectively), and contacting your elected officials is possible through the Usa.gov website.
P.S. If you need to access an online encyclopedia today, try our website instead of Wikipedia. We have access to the Encyclopedia Britannica and other databases.