PROTECT IP/SOPA: A Threat to the Net?

I’m sure you’ve heard about major sites purporting to go dark for a day in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Perhaps the most high profile site among them to is knowledge-sharing giant Wikipedia whose site solemnly proclaims:

“Imagine a world without free knowledge… The US Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia.”

A broad overview of the bill is provided by The Wall Street Journal. You can get a detailed look into why this bill is supposedly dangerous in Mashable. The article carefully analyzes key sections and comments on the potentially incredulous and harmful consequences that might arise and inevitably threaten and subvert a free and open internet. On the other hand, Andrew Orlowski of the The Telegraph argues that the reason why SOPA exists because “no voluntary agreement is in place” among the large tech firms to more actively thwart piracy and protect copyrighted content.

What is your opinion on the protests? Are bills like PIPA and SOPA a necessary legislation to let governments reign in the pirated activities on the internet and protect the interests of content creators? Or is the bill overly broad in its execution, threatening the fundamentally open nature of the internet? 

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