In the U.S., harsh criticism and massive Web protests may have taken SOPA and PIPA down (but not out), but abroad, Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (aka ACTA) looks like it's picking up steam despite coming under fire. ACTA's noble goal is to establish international standards to better protect intellectual property — yet its detractors say it opens a wide door to Internet censorship.
Over the New Year's weekend, I was reminded of an old comedy record called The First Family, a hilarious and enormously popular spoof of the Kennedy administration from the early 1960s, pulled from circulation after JFK's assassination in 1963. A friend in my age demographic had never heard of it. So I attached an MP3 file of one of the tracks I had made from my CD copy and emailed it to him. In the wake of all the SOPA brouhaha, I got to thinking about this exchange. I wasn't selling the track or album to him; I didn't send him the entire album; I didn't post it anywhere where someone else might listen to it for nothing (though someone has, but I'm not telling you where). But I felt dirty nonetheless. And suddenly I understood the urge that led lawmakers to create the Frankenstein monster that is SOPA and its evil spawn PIPA.
Internet, your blackouts and protesting have worked (for now). Senator Lamar Smith, the main proponent of SOPA says the House will be delaying legislation regarding the controversial bill that would destroy the Internet as we know it.
If you piss off the hacktivists at Anonymous, one thing you can be sure of is that they're going to find a way to hit back. So when the U.S. Department of Justice closed down Megaupload.com on Thursday, it didn't take long for Anonymous to respond.
So what's all this SOPA/PIPA business? Check out the infographic below to find out why Wikipedia is protesting these two controversial anti-piracy bills.