The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its fellow, the Protect IP Act (PIPA) are two bills currently being debated in congress and halls of internet wisdom. Their stated purpose is to curb online infringement upon intellectual property. Pending these bills, sites like Megaupload have been shut down.
Because, obviously, online piracy is so much more important than a balanced budget and dealing with an escalating sense of dissatisfaction with our foreign policy. Definitely more important.
There is a lot of fear that these bills would potentially shut down sites like Youtube, Wikipedia, and Tumblr, along with lesser-known sites like Fanfiction.net. In effect, the bill would take out legitimate sites just so Hollywood can make a bit more dough, and leave a bunch of people out in the cold as they find their online lives empty. (Doesn't that sound pathetic?)
On Wednesday, Wikipedia led a blackout protest that shut their sites and several others down for the day--I know my Tumblr blog was blacked out for the day--and a massive caller campaign began, people sending letters and calling their representatives and senators. (It's satisfying to note that the Congressional support for the bill has since dropped. Apparently they're realizing that if they pass it, the next civil war will be led by teenagers who have never seen the light of day.)
Just one more way the government wants to dictate to us. Silly people--thinking they can act like China and get away with it.